A magnitude 6.6 earthquake occurred Tuesday, January 11 at dawn in the Mediterranean off the west coast of Cyprus, the American Seismological Institute (USGS) said. The quake occurred at 1:07 a.m. GMT at a depth of 19.6 km, 48 km off the town of Polis, the USGS said. According to a preliminary assessment by this institute, the likelihood that this shock caused casualties or damage is low.
The earthquake was strongly felt by the population in many places across Cyprus. In the capital Nicosia, located 130 km from the epicenter, a few residents took to the streets in the middle of the night. “It was scary. The whole building was shaking endlessly. I thought it was never going to end ”, told AFP a resident of Nicosia. “We were in bed and it woke us up, it lasted a really long time”, also told Carol Bailey, a resident of Phinikaria, near the town of Limassol, in the south of the island.
The Euro-Mediterranean Seismology Center (CSEM) for its part evaluated the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.5 and the depth at 51 km. Cyprus is located in an area of intense seismic activity, on the edge of the meeting line of the Eurasian tectonic plate with the African plate, but earthquakes of such power are rare there. On October 9, 1996, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake killed two people and damaged dozens of buildings in the coastal towns of Paphos and Limassol. On September 10, 1953, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake killed 40 people, destroying hundreds of homes, especially in the Paphos region.