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New beaches for Kefalonia

- by Andy Cornish

Earthquakes create new sands along the shore.

Kefalonia is enjoying a surprise boom in beaches with new stretches of golden sand appearing along the island's long indented coastline. And several existing beaches have grow in size with more sands for Greek island holiday visitors to Kefalonia to enjoy.

Experts say it's the result of the series of earthquakes that rocked Kefalonia earlier this year. Geologists report some parts of the island have been raised up by as much as 20cm allowing huge stretches of sand to emerge from the sea.

A group of seismologists from Athens University has been investigating the island to determine the effects of the series of strong earth tremors that rocked the island at the end of January this year.

A state of emergency was declared on Kefalonia when dozens of aftershocks followed the initial quake which reached 5.9 on the Richter Scale with the epicentre located just a few kilometres off the coast near the capital city at Argostoli.

The remote north-west Pali peninsula suffered the heaviest of the tremors and it is in this region that detailed searches have revealed new beaches where none existed before including one that extends to several thousands of square metres.

The team of geologists say the entire peninsula has been raised several centimetres as a result of the shocks and other recent earthquake activity.

The scientists arrived on Kefalonia in May to carry out detailed research on the Pali peninsula and they set up special instruments to measure changes in ground levels.

As well as the appearance of new beaches they also found that the water level in the wetlands around Livadi, north of the port of Lixouri, has risen appreciably.

This area is one of the most important wetland habitats in Greece with more than 100 rivers and creeks creating shelter for many types of flora and fauna.

The quake was also responsible for a strange phenomenon on one of Kefalonia's best known beach at Myrtos, pictured above, which is also located in the north-west of the island.

A huge rift, measured at more than 60 metres long released large amounts of sand and soil into the sea to create a huge mud bank in the bay.

This has not been the first strong earthquake to strike the Greek island of Kefalonia. A 7.2 magnitude quake in 1953, struck three days after a 6.4 tremor, leaving many dead and injured and most of the island's buildings reduced to rubble.

Kefalonia houses built since 1953 have adhered to strict anti-seismic regulations and this is considered the main reason why relatively little damage was caused in the earthquake earlier this year.