On Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 10:41 UTC, a 7.2 magnitude scale earthquake struck eastern Turkey. The collision of the Arabian and Eurasian plates controlled the event. The quake was consistent with oblique-thrust faults in the region (USGS 2011a).
Turkey suffers from numerous earthquakes, now and throughout its history. It lies near numerous moving parts of the planet. Several quakes have killed thousands and left more homeless. Below are some of the big ones of the 20th century:
- Magnitude 7.6: Izmit Earthquake (1999): killed 17,000 people, injured 50,000, left 500,000 homeless,
- Magnitude 7.3: Near Turkey and Iran border (1976): killed several thousand people, and
- Magnitude 7.8: Erzingcan (1939): killed an estimated 33,000 people (USGS 2011b).
Below are earlier earthquakes:
- B.C. 1470: Anatolian Coast: followed the eruption of Santorini (Erel and Adatepe 2007:242)
- B.C 1356 or 1365: Ugarit devastated (Erel and Adatepe 2007:242)
- A.D. 115: Antioch (Gore 1996 – 2011)
- A.D. 468: Antioch (Gore 1996 – 2011)
- A.D. 526: Antioch (Gore 1996 – 2011)
- A.D. 588: Antioch (Gore 1996 – 2011)
- A.D. 1872: Antakya (on what was once Antioch) (Gore 1996 – 2011)
Of course, this is a small sample of earthquakes in the region. Several earthquakes in the region center around Antakya, Samandağ and are linked to the Death Sea fault, others originate from Rhodes-Meis and Cerete (Erel and Adatepe 2007:242).
Erel, T. Levent and Fatih Adatepe
2007 Traces of Earthquakes in the Ancient City Life at the Mediterranean Region. Journal of the Black Sea/Mediterranean Environment 13:241-252. Electronic document, http://www.blackmeditjournal.org/blackmeditjournal.org/pdf/4-%20Traces%20of%20Historical%20earthquakess.pdf, accessed October 23, 2011.
1996 – 2011 Anatolia – A History Forged By Disaster. National Geographic. Electronic document, http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/earth/the-dynamic-earth/anatolian-history/, accessed October 23, 2011.
United States Geological Survey
2011a Details: Magnitude 7.2 Eastern Turkey 2011 October 23 10:41:21 UTC. USGS Earthquakes Hazards Program. Electronic document, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usb0006bqc.php#details, accessed October 23, 2011.
2011b Summary: Magnitude 7.2 Eastern Turkey 2011 October 23 10:41:21 UTC. USGS Earthquakes Hazards Program. Electronic document, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usb0006bqc.php#summary, accessed October 23, 2011.
Oct 23 2011 Earthquake in Turkey: Small History by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.