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Strong quake strikes near Crete, minor damage reported

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

An earthquake with a magnitude of more than six degrees struck near the island of Crete in southern Greece on Saturday, sending items flying off supermarket shelves but causing only minor damages.

According to the US Geological Survey the quake had a 6.4 magnitude, while the Athens Observatory gave it a magnitude of 6.2.

The epicentre was some 60 kilometres (37 miles) off the city of Hania in western Crete, the state-run Athens News Agency said.

The earthquake struck at 4:11pm (1311 GMT) and its epicentre was in the sea, 275 kilometres south of Athens, the observatory said, describing the quake as "strong."

"The quake took place in an area known for its seismic activity. It was strongly felt in Crete but also in the rest of Greece," geology professor Efthymios Lekkas told Skai radio.

"It was very impressive because the shaking lasted some 40-50 seconds," a woman who identified herself only as Vassia, told an AFP reporter on the island.

According to the Athens News Agency, life in Hania returned to normal a few hours after the quake, which had initially sent people rushing into the streets in panic.

Shops and houses suffered minor damages and local television showed images of items falling off supermarket shelves.

According to Skai radio station, an elderly person was lightly injured while attempting to jump out a window.

Local authorities also rushed to open up roads close to Hania, blocked by fallen rocks.

Greece is one of Europe's most earthquake-prone countries.

On Friday, a 4.4-magnitude earthquake, described as "mild" by the observatory, struck the north of the country causing no damage.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131012/strong-quake-strikes-near-crete-minor-damage-reported