Records and Instrumental Recordings of Earthquakes
references and recent archaeological findings reveal that Cyprus
was struck by strong earthquakes in the past, which on several
occasions destroyed its towns and dwellings. Salamis, Kition,
Pafos and Nicosia as well as several villages suffered damage at
different time periods.
data indicate that 16 destructive earthquakes with intensities
of at least VIII on the modified Mercalli scale occurred between
26 BC and 1900 AD. Pafos
was levelled in 15 BC while in 76 AD the town was destroyed
along with Salamis and Kition. The latter earthquake is
considered to be the strongest that ever hit Cyprus. Salamis and
Pafos were destroyed again in 332 AD and 342 AD.
historical data have many inaccuracies and gaps and for some
time periods there is complete lack of information. Additionally,
several events appear to have been exaggerated by the historians
and chroniclers who described them. More accurate data have been
collected, regarding the earthquakes occurring in Cyprus and the
surrounding offshore area since 1896, when seismological
stations started operating in neighbouring countries. The
situation regarding the accuracy and completeness of the
earthquake recordings improved considerably after 1984, with the
establishment of a seismological station in Cyprus and its
continual expansion and upgrading. A better picture of the
seismicity of the Cyprus region started developing and the areas
with higher seismic activity were more clearly recognised. In
the time period 1896-2004, more than 400 earthquakes with their
epicentres on Cyprus and the surrounding region were felt in
several areas of Cyprus. Of these the following 14 earthquakes
caused damage and in some of them there were many victims.
and Damaging Earthquakes on Cyprus 1896-2000 (Figure S6)
most catastrophic earthquakes were those of 1941, 1953, 1995,
1996, and 1999.
study of the historical and recent earthquake recordings shows
that the distribution in time of the seismic activity is not
regular, but there are periods of intense activity followed by
periods of quiescence. Thus, while 28
earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 4.5 were recorded in
the period 1918-1937, in the Cyprus region (33.5°-37.0°
E), only 11 were recorded in 1960-1990. In the years 1995-1999
there was an increase in seismic activity with strong to very
strong earthquakes with magnitudes of 5.6-6.5.
statistical analysis of the historical data gives a theoretical
return period of one catastrophic earthquake every 120 years,
while a similar analysis of instrumental recordings of the last
100 years gives the results presented in the table below.