A massive earthquake struck southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria at 4:17 a.m. local time on Monday, causing buildings to collapse and killing thousands in both countries.
The 7.8-magnitude quake that hit Turkey was the deadliest since the 1939 earthquake in eastern Turkey that killed about 33,000 people.
Shaking from Monday’s quake was felt as far away as Egypt, Lebanon and Israel. A powerful aftershock of magnitude 7.5 followed at 1:24 pm.
The quake affected a very large area, causing shaking and destruction in an area about 12 times the size of Belgium.
size and scale
The epicenter of the main earthquake was near the southwestern end of the East Anatolian fault, near its junction with the Dead Sea fault system. The impact of the earthquake on the surface was exacerbated by the relatively shallow depth of 18km. Aftershocks occurred 9 hours later at a shallower depth of just 10km, about 100km to the north.
Due to the shallow depth of the quake, the intensity of the shaking increased the closer the quake was to the surface, thus increasing the impact on populations hundreds of kilometers away in all directions. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that more than 21 million people experienced the intensity of the shaking. More than “strong”.
worst-hit areas in turkey Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Gaziantep and Adiyaman provinces.of Syriathe quake hit the Idlib and Aleppo provinces, as well as the coastal areas of Latakia and Tartus.
The eastern Anatolian fault that caused Monday’s disaster has been relatively quiet for decades, partly explaining the tremendous energy released by this week’s quake.
Global and regional context
Other countries, including Indonesia, Vanuatu and Argentina, have also had big quakes this year, but the 7.8-magnitude quakes in Turkey and Syria are so far the world’s largest by magnitude.
The Richter scale, used to measure earthquake strength, is based on a logarithmic scale. This means that earthquakes of similar magnitude actually differ greatly in size.
The TNT equivalents of the magnitude 7.8 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria (a linear scale based on the energy released from equivalent amounts of TNT explosives) compared with estimates of 3.8 and 239,000 tons for the magnitude 7.6 earthquakes in Indonesia. , about 7.5 million tons. A magnitude 6.8 earthquake in Argentina.
Earthquakes are common around Turkey and Syria, but Monday’s magnitude 7.8 quake was the largest in the region so far this century.
Monday’s natural disaster hit cities and towns where many buildings are vulnerable to impact.
The earthquake has resulted in devastating death tolls in Turkey and Syria, with more expected to rise.
By Wednesday evening, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that 9,057 people had been killed in the quake, while officials said 52,000 were injured. confirmed dead.
Rescuers have been pulling survivors out of the rubble in southern Turkey and northern Syria through the night. However, freezing weather, snow and damaged infrastructure are complicating the transportation of aid, personnel and heavy equipment.