The research director of the Institute of Geodynamics at the National Observatory of Athens, Vassilis Karastathis, on Tuesday sought to allay fears over increased earthquake activity close to Crete, where a 5.9 Richter quake hit south of the island last Saturday, followed by a 5.6 magnitude aftershock the following day.

According to Karastathis, the quake’s epicenter, about 50 kilometers off the island’s south coast, was located in a highly seismic area where tectonic plates converge, while aftershock activity was within the norm.