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Turkey earthquake

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More than 11,000 people have been killed and thousands injured by a huge earthquake which struck south-eastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, in the early hours of Monday morning.

The earthquake, which hit near the town of Gaziantep, was closely followed by numerous aftershocks – including one quake which was almost as large as the first.

The death toll is expected to keep rising.

Why was it so deadly?

The first earthquake was big – it registered as 7.8, classified as “major” on the official magnitude scale. It broke along about 100km (62 miles) of fault line, causing serious damage to buildings near the fault.


University College London’s Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction director, Prof. Joanna Faure Walker, stated: Only two of the deadliest earthquakes in any given year have been of comparable magnitude, compared to four in the previous ten years.

However, the devastation is not only brought about by the strength of the tremor.

People were sleeping inside at the time of this incident, which occurred in the early morning.

Another factor is the buildings’ durability.

Reader in volcanology and risk communication at the University of Portsmouth, Dr. Carmen Solana, states: Unfortunately, South Turkey’s and especially Syria’s resistant infrastructure is patchy, so the only way to save lives right now is to respond. Finding survivors requires the next 24 hours. The number of survivors decreases dramatically after 48 hours.

The level of preparedness would be lower than in a region that was more accustomed to dealing with tremors because this was a region where there had not been a major earthquake for more than 200 years or any warning signs.

What caused the earthquake?

The plates that make up the Earth’s crust are separate pieces that are nested next to each other.

These plates frequently attempt to move, but the friction caused by rubbing against adjacent plates prevents them from doing so. However, there are times when the pressure builds to the point where one plate abruptly jerks across, causing the surface to move.

In this instance, the Arabian plate was grinding against the Anatolian plate as it moved north.

In the past, extremely destructive earthquakes have been caused by friction between the plates.

It caused an earthquake on August 13, 1822, with a magnitude of 7.4, which was significantly lower than the magnitude of 7.8 recorded on Monday.

Despite this, the 19th-century earthquake caused significant damage to the surrounding towns, killing 7,000 people in Aleppo alone. For nearly a year, damaging aftershocks continued.

Scientists anticipate that the current quake will follow in the same pattern as the previous major one in the region, as there have already been several aftershocks.

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