Earthquake rocks Egypt

Published May 22nd, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

A strong earthquake centered under the eastern Mediterranean Sea shook parts of Egypt and the island of Crete late Tuesday, however there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. 


Many buildings in downtown Cairo shook as the quake struck just before midnight. 


The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6, officials from Egypt's National Research Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics told The Associated Press


At the same time, the temblor was also felt in Crete, the island of Kythira and in parts of the southern mainland area of the Peloponnese, authorities said. Crete is about 300 miles north of the Egyptian coastline. 


Officials from geological agencies in the United States and Greece said the magnitude of the earthquake ranged from 5.3 to 5.7. The differences in the figures could not be immediately reconciled. 


John Bellini, a geophysicist with the Colorado-based U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center, said the quake's epicenter was about 100 north of Crete. 


"It's a seismically active area," Bellini said. 


A quake with a magnitude of 6 is capable of causing severe damage. In 1992, Egypt was rocked by an earthquake measuring 5.9, which killed over 450 people and injured thousands. (

© 2002 Al Bawaba (

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