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Published on : Sunday, January 26, 2014. EarthquakeATHENS: A strong earthquake rocked the island of Cephalonia in western Greece on Sunday but there were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage, police and fire brigade officials said.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the 3:55 p.m. temblor had its epicenter 279 kilometers (173 miles) west of Athens, near the town of Lixouri on the island. The epicenter’s depth is at 17 kilometers (11 miles) below the surface.

The 5.8 magnitude quake struck at 3:55 p.m., according to the Athens Geodynamic Institute.
Its epicenter was six km (four miles) northeast of the town of Argostoli, the island’s capital. No tsunami warning was issued.

The tremor was felt across western Greece, the Institute said.

“It was a very strong quake and it scared people. So far we have no reports of injuries but there are reports of damage to the road network and in homes, but (it is) … not major,” a police official on the Ionian Sea island told Reuters.

Another police official in Athens said eight homes and a few farm houses were reported
damaged so far but there were no injuries. Greece’s interior minister was heading to Cephalonia by helicopter to assess the situation.

Greece is prone to earthquakes. Most cause no serious damage, but a 5.9 magnitude quake in 1999 killed 143 people.A very strong earthquake of a preliminary 5.8-magnitude has hit the Greek island of Kefalonia.

A local news website, kefaloniapress.gr reports some damage on roads and buildings in the towns of Lixouri and Argostoli, the islands largest, but no casualties.

Such earthquakes are not rare in Greece. Kefalonia and the nearby island of Zakynthos were devastated by a 7.2-strong quake in 1953.