Massive earthquake rattles western Turkey and Greece

New Delhi (NVI): A major earthquake in the Aegean Sea rattled parts of Greece and western Turkey today, leveling structures in the western Turkish city of Izmir and severely damaging several residential buildings.

The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.0 according to the United States Geological Survey, was centered off Samos, a Greek island near the Turkish coast.

However, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre said it had a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 with an epicenter 8 miles north-northeast of Samos. It is common for preliminary magnitudes to differ in the early hours and days after a quake. Multiple aftershocks struck the region.

The quake was felt in Istanbul, about 200 miles northeast of Izmir, and in parts of Greece. But much of the initial damage seemed to be centered in Izmir.

At least six buildings were destroyed in Izmir, Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, said in a tweet.

Izmir is the third-biggest city in Turkey, with around 4.5 million residents.

Meanwhile in Greece, four people sustained minor injuries on the island of Samos, which was also hit by a mini-tsunami following the quake, according to media reports.

People have been advised to stay away from the coastline and away from buildings as aftershocks continue to rattle the area.

There is no immediate information on casualties following the earthquake.

-CHK