After the devastating earthquakes in Kahramanmaras, citizens began to investigate the earthquakes that occurred in our country. Turkey, which is a land of earthquakes, has experienced many earthquakes in the past and present. Some of them caused minor aftershocks, while others caused numerous injuries and deaths. One of the strongest earthquakes in our country was the Erzincan earthquake of 1939. We have told you what you need to know about the Great Erzincan Earthquake.

You can also take a look at this content: “Which are low and high earthquake risk cities in Turkey?”

When did the great Erzincan earthquake occur?

The Erzincan earthquake is a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.8 that occurred on December 27, 1939, and its epicenter was Erzincan. In terms of its magnitude, the 1939 Erzincan earthquake, which is one of the few mega earthquakes in the world, is the second largest earthquake in Anatolia after the 1668 North Anatolian earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0. The Erzincan earthquake in 1939 was also the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Republic until the Kahramanmaras earthquake in 2023.

How did the great Erzincan earthquake happen?

Great Erzinkan earthquake

The Great Erzinkan Earthquake, which occurred on December 27, 1939, lasted about 50 seconds with a magnitude of 7.8. More than 100,000 people were injured in this devastating earthquake and 32,968 people died, according to official figures. The intensity of the earthquake was rated as X (Intense) on the Mercalli scale, and 116,720 buildings were completely destroyed by the earthquake. In addition, the earthquake occurred at a depth of 20 kilometers underground.

One of the main reasons for the high death toll; search and rescue operations and assistance were carried out in difficult winter conditions.

On which fault line did the earthquake occur?


The 1939 Erzincan earthquake occurred on the North Anatolia fault line. Situated in Turkey’s most seismic zone, Erzincan lies on the Erzincan Plain, which is a very active part of the North Anatolian earthquake belt. According to historical documents, Erzincan was also washed 11 times in the last 1000 years.

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