Schools closed after shallow M5.5 earthquake, series of aftershocks hit Florina, Greece


A shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M5.5 hit Florina, Greece at 21:43 UTC on January 9, 2022. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting the same magnitude and depth. The Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens (NOA) registered it as M5.3 at a depth of 14.1 km (8.7 miles).

The epicenter was located about 7.2 km (4.5 miles) NNW of Florina (population 17 686), West Macedonia, 21.4 km (13.3 miles) S of Bitola (population 86 528), North Macedonia, and 41.2 km (25.6 miles) SE of Resen (population 16 539), North Macedonia.

NOA registered at least 47 aftershocks over the next 10 hours.

Florina earthquakes January 9 and 10, 2022. Image credit: NOA, ESRI

There are about 1.4 million people living within 100 km (62 miles).

10 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 86 000 strong, 53 000 moderate, and 1 278 000 light.

Image credit: TW/SAM, Google

The USGS issued a Green alert for shaking-related fatalities and a Yellow alert for economic losses.

Some damage is possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Greece. Past events with this alert level have required a local or regional level response.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are mud wall with wood and unreinforced brick with mud construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

While there were no reports of injuries, some buildings suffered minor damage.

For precautionary and safety measures, schools in the region will remain closed on Monday, January 10.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google

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