NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wall Street's key index of volatility hit its highest level in more than two months Tuesday as worries about Greece's spreading debt crisis topped the already long list of investors' concerns.
The VIX (VIX), which gauges fear in the market, surged more than 18% to close at 23.84 on Tuesday.
That's the highest reading since the middle of February and up 53% since early April, when the VIX was trading at its lowest level in nearly three years.
Markets were rattled Tuesday as investors worried that the $146 billion aid package for Greece, announced over the weekend, would not prevent debt problems from spreading to other euro zone countries.
"When we finally did address the Greece situation, the market doesn't believe it or just thinks that there's another shoe about to drop," said Joseph Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading.
Greece is a member of the so-called PIIGS, a collection of five debt-laden European nations. Many investors fear that Spain and Portugal could be two of the next countries to need financial assistance.
"This is not an isolated situation, because if it was just one country, the market would get over it," Saluzzi said. "It looks like we're now going to see the ramifications of this."
But it's not just concern over sovereign debt that's causing the VIX to surge, said Saluzzi.
"At this point there are just so many issues out there," he said. "You can pick anything, whether it's any country in Europe, the oil spill, volcanic ash or Goldman Sachs -- the market is having a hard time."
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.43%||3.40%|
|15 yr fixed||2.69%||2.66%|
|30 yr refi||3.44%||3.44%|
|15 yr refi||2.73%||2.72%|
Today's featured rates:
HSBC banker arrested at JFK airport as he prepared to leave the country. He and former trader face federal charges they manipulated currency trades. More
The U.S. economic recovery from the recession is poised to no longer be the worst economic comeback since World War II, according to Princeton economist Alan Krueger. More
Even before Tesla reported the first known death of a driver using its autopilot feature, some employees worried the car company wasn't taking every possible precaution. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
It's about to get harder for some luxury all-cash home buyers to hide their identity from the U.S. government. More