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HomeNEWSInternational NewsWhy do so many big earthquakes occur in Turkey?

Why do so many big earthquakes occur in Turkey?

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Earthquakes are almost an everyday affair in Turkey

Earthquakes are almost an everyday affair in Turkey, which lies in one of the world’s most active seismic zones. They leave behind thousands of deaths, injuries, and property damage.

On February 6, Turkey was jolted by three earthquakes, with magnitudes 7.8, 7.6, and 6.0 respectively which Turkish President Erdogan described as “the biggest disaster” the country in the last century.

According to the Geological Society of London, more than 32,700 people died in an earthquake of 7.8 magnitudes in the eastern Erzincan province in 1939, which was similar to the recent earthquake in Turkey. 

More than 17,000 people were killed in an earthquake of 7.6 magnitudes in the Turkish region of Duzce on August 17, 1999.

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Similarly, more than 5-10 thousand people were killed in an earthquake of 7.6 magnitudes on July 23, 1784.

The reason behind this is fairly simple – Turkey happens to be situated at the junction of four tectonic plates which makes it one of the world’s most seismically active countries and active earthquake zones. Turkey is largely located on the Anatolian tectonic plate, sandwiched between the Eurasian and African two major plates, and the Arabian – a minor plate.

The Anatolian tectonic plate mostly moves in the anti-clockwise direction. It is at the same time being pushed by the Arabian plate. This makes the rotating Anatolian plate, collide with the Eurasian plate. The slip of one block of rock over another in an earthquake releases energy that makes the ground vibrate. That vibration pushes the adjoining piece of ground and causes it to vibrate, and thus the energy travels out from the earthquake hypocenter in a wave.

This movement of tectonic plates and collision between them is the cause behind most earthquakes.

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Another reason behind this is that Turkey lies on several fault lines. The end result of all this is that the North Anatolian fault line (NAF), where the Anatolian and Eurasian plates meet, is one of the most active seismic zones in the world.

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There are many ways to measure an earthquake. Magnitude is the most common method of measuring an earthquake’s size. The intensity is a measure of the shaking and damage caused by the earthquake; this value changes from location to location. The place where an earthquake originates is called the epicenter. The intensity of an earthquake is measured by the Richter scale – on a grid of 1 to 10. An earthquake of magnitude 2.5 or less is barely felt but can be recorded by a seismograph. Earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 to 5.4 only cause minor damage and may cause windows to rattle. Earthquakes of magnitude 5.5 to 6.0 are considered major and can cause slight damage to buildings and other structures, while earthquakes of higher magnitude can cause widespread harm and destruction to life and property.

Also Read: NASA software to predict earthquake in advance

Valdivia Earthquake – the largest earthquake in history occurred approximately 160 km off the coast of Chile on May 22, 1960. It had a magnitude of 9.5. It tremors lasted approximately 10 minutes and triggered a massive tsunami.

Here is a list of some of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded in Turkey.

Earthquakes of 7.5 magnitude

DateNumber of people killed
December 13, 115 CEMore than 2.5 lakh
February 23, 16532500
May 7, 19302500
November 26, 19435,000
February 1, 19444,000
November 24, 19764,000

Earthquakes of 7.4 magnitude

DateNumber of people killed
July 2, 1840 10,000

Earthquakes of 7.3 magnitude

DateNumber of people killed
April 3, 18817866
October 10, 1883120
August 9, 1953216

7.2 magnitude

DateNumber of people killed
September 10, 150910,000
April 3, 18721800
March 18, 1953265
November 12, 1999894
March 28, 19701086
October 23, 2011604

7.1 magnitude

DateNumber of people killed
May 22, 17664,000
September 20, 18991470
April 25, 195767
May 26, 195752

7.0 magnitude

DateNumber of people killed
July 13, 168810,000
July 10, 18941300
October 6, 196423
December 29, 19423,000  
October 30, 2020117
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Neeraj Mahajan
Neeraj Mahajanhttps://n2erajmahajan.wordpress.com/
Neeraj Mahajan is a hard-core, creative and dynamic media professional with over 35 years of proven competence and 360 degree experience in print, electronic, web and mobile journalism. He is an eminent investigative journalist, out of the box thinker, and a hard-core reporter who is always hungry for facts. Neeraj has worked in all kinds of daily/weekly/broadsheet/tabloid newspapers, magazines and television channels like Star TV, BBC, Patriot, Sunday Observer, Sunday Mail, Network Magazine, Verdict, and Gfiles Magazine.


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