Historical and Archaeological Evidence of Earthquakes and Tsunamis Felt in the Kythira Strait, Greece

  • G. A. Papadopoulos
  • A. Vassilopoulou
Part of the Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research book series (NTHR, volume 18)


The Kythira strait constitutes a complex transform-extensional deformation and rotation in the Western Hellenic Arc characterized by high seismicity. Historical documents, such as descriptions, chronicles, memoires, and diaries have been combined with archaeological evidence to compile a catalogue of earthquakes and tsunamis reported in the area of Kythira from the antiquity to 1910 inclusive. This attempt revealed earthquake events that remained unknown so far in the seismological literature. For some already known events the times of occurrences were corrected and/or their macroseismic fields were better defined. The seismic potential in the Kythira strait is exceptionally high as is reflected in the historical seismicity of the area. Apart from the 66 AD and 365 AD large earthquakes, and the questionable event of 800, at least ten strong (MS ≥ 6.0) earthquakes occurred from 1750 to 1910 with a mean recurrence of about 18±18 years. As for the tsunami potential, excluding the questionable wave of 800, at least five strong tsunamis were observed from the 1st century A.D. onwards. Assuming that the tsunami data are complete only from the beginning of the 17th century, we conclude that the mean frequency of strong tsunamis is one per 130 years. Of special seismological, archaeological and historical interest is the supposedly seismic destruction of Skandia, the ancient harbour of Kythira, in association with the large 365 AD and 800 AD earthquakes and tsunamis. A future interdisciplinary research effort could cast a new light to this working hypothesis.


Strong Earthquake Large Earthquake Historical Earthquake Earthquake Event Tsunami Inundation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. A. Papadopoulos
    • 1
  • A. Vassilopoulou
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of GeodynamicsNational Observatory of AthensAthensGreece

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