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||4.30%||4.31%|
|15 yr fixed||3.69%||3.64%|
|30 yr refi||4.27%||4.26%|
|15 yr refi||3.66%||3.60%|
Today's featured rates:
Steel and aluminum tariffs might be good news for some U.S. mills and smelters. But it could hit other U.S. manufacturers who now depend on imports. More
Unfortunately, economic expansions don't last forever. Eventually, a recession comes along and ruins the party. More
Big companies like Samsung and Intel are showing off self-driving vehicles, virtual-reality viewing stations and super-fast video streaming. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
If you aren't doing this one thing, you could cost yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars. More