Türkiye quakes were among strongest since 1668, says geologist

Monday’s earthquakes in southern Türkiye were among the most powerful to hit the region since 1668, according to a Belgian geologist, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency. 

The first tremor was “actually the first or second largest ever recorded earthquake in Türkiye (since earthquakes are being recorded systematically by seismological instruments),” Marc De Batist, a geologist at Ghent University, said in an email interview with Anadolu.

“This together with the 1939 Erzincan earthquake (33,000 casualties) which … had a magnitude of 7.8,” he said.

The second earthquake was “among the strongest 11 earthquakes recorded in the country since historic times,” Batist added.

More than 8,570 people were killed and over 49,130 injured after two strong earthquakes rocked southern Türkiye on Monday.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes, centered in the Kahramanmaras province, struck 10 provinces, destroying thousands of buildings and affecting more than 13 million people.

A major reason for the scale of devastation is that the hypocenter, the point of an earthquake’s origin, was shallow and nearer the surface, according to Batist.

“The shallower the earthquake, the stronger the shaking experienced at the ground. It is the intensity of the shaking, together with the duration of the shaking, that causes most of the damage,” he explained.

“The second very strong quake hit the same area jolted by the first one, which made things much worse,” he added.

Batist cited the type of fault as another contributing factor.

The area affected in Monday’s quakes lies on the Eastern Anatolian Fault, so “it was a strike-slip event, meaning that the two parts at either side of the fault moved horizontally relative to each other,” he said.


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