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M 7.5 Earthquake hits Turkey and Syria leaving more than 4,300 people dead

Photo from USGS

On February 6, 2023, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred in southern Turkey near the northern border of Syria. The earthquake occurred approximately nine hours after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake located 95 km to the southwest. According to USGS, this earthquake ruptured either a near vertical left-lateral fault striking east-wast or a right-lateral fault striking north-south.

The preliminary location of the magnitude 7.5 earthquake place was the vicinity of a triple junction between the Anatolia, Arabia, and African tectonic plates. The first shock of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred at the broad East Anatolia fault zone that accommodates the westward extrusion of Turkey into the Aegean Sea.

The region where M 6 or larger earthquakes occurred since 1822 has occurred in the vicinity of the East Anatolia fault. Still, on Feb. 6, 2023, the magnitude 7.5 earthquake was active. In the past, earthquakes ruptured the region of southern Turkey and northern Syria, especially, Aleppo, Syria. Aleppo was struck by an estimated magnitude 7.1 earthquake in 1138 and an estimated magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 1822. Fatality estimates for the 1822 earthquake were 20,000-60,000.

An M7.5 earthquake hit the vicinity of Turkey and Syria leaving more than 4,000+ people killed on Monday. Millions of people from Syria had migrated to southern Turkey due to war and had been left in unstabilized apartment buildings with little heating and without adequate or safe shelters.

IRC (Internation Rescue Committee) went on rescue missions in the region after the major earthquake occurred. Thousands were injured and an unknown number are still trapped in the rubble. The early-morning quake and dozens of aftershocks brought down entire apartment blocks in Turkey and heaped more destruction on Syrian communities already devastated by over a decade of war.

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