Turkey was shaken by an earthquake of magnitude 7.7, which occurred yesterday morning in the Pazardzhik district of the city of Kahramanmarash. Approximately 10 hours later, another 7.6 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Elbistan region of Kahramanmarash city. These two strong earthquakes were felt in 10 different cities, as well as in many foreign countries. Thousands of buildings were destroyed, unfortunately, thousands of our citizens died as a result of the earthquake, which is one of the biggest disasters not only in Turkey but throughout the world. So, why did the Kahramanmarash earthquake happen, what exactly made the earthquake so devastating, what made the earthquake one of the biggest disasters of the last period, why was the earthquake so devastating? Let’s look at the details together.

How do earthquakes happen?

The Earth’s crust is made up of interconnected but independent parts called “plates”. However, it is known that the plates want to “move”, but the plates in contact with each other press on each other and prevent this movement. But in some cases, this pressure builds up, and the pressure rises to the surface in the form of energy. This tremendous energy causes the surface to move, in other words, an earthquake occurs.

The Kahramanmarash earthquake occurred when the Arabian Plate moved northward and put pressure on the Anatolian Plate.


The thrust and pressure between two plates has caused serious earthquakes in the past. For example, on August 13, 1822, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit the same area on the same fault line.

More than 20,000 people died as a result of this earthquake. So, why are the earthquakes in the region where the Kahramanmaras earthquake occurred so strong? To find the answer to this question, it is necessary to look at the characteristics of the East Anatolian fault line in the earthquake zone.

In such fault lines, blocks of hard rock exert pressure on each other in a vertical line. Blocks that cannot withstand pressure move in a horizontal direction. The stress resulting from this movement causes earthquakes. For example, the San Andreas fault line in the US state of California is one of the most famous shear fault lines in the world. Scientists state that the fault line has been “calm” for a very long time, so very soon a very strong earthquake can occur on the fault line. In other words, one of the factors that made the Kahramanmarash earthquake so devastating is the structural features of the fault line where the earthquake occurred. But this is not the only reason.

The Kahramanmarash earthquake occurred at a depth of only 7 kilometers! This is one of the reasons why the earthquake became much more destructive than usual.


Geophysicist David Rothery of the Open University in England said:The closer an earthquake of the same magnitude is to the surface, the stronger the impact.” he uses.

Another factor that makes an earthquake destructive is the energy accumulated in the region over many years.


Scientists argue that fault lines should accumulate energy before any break. The rupture interval of the East Anatolian fault line is 500 years. More precisely, the fault line has accumulated energy for 500 years. Another reason why the Kahramanmaras earthquake is so devastating is the high energy carried by the line, scientists say.

On the other hand, for these reasons, it can be said that aftershocks in the region are extremely strong. It is known that after the first earthquake there were many aftershocks in the region. How long will the aftershocks last, some of them extremely strong?

British scientist Roger Musson argues that aftershocks can continue for some time.


On this occasion, Musson said:Now we are seeing the spread of activity to neighboring faults. Therefore, we expect this activity to continue for some time.it uses. However, it is known that the aftershocks of the earthquake that occurred in the same area in 1822 continued for a year. in the region recently, Haluk Ozener claims that the earthquake was felt in many countries and caused serious aftershocks.

Asked how long aftershocks could last, Ozener said:In the future, their number will increase as minor aftershocks resolve. 7 of them are older than 5. We have a 6.6 earthquake, one of which is the main aftershock. We can say that these earthquakes will continue in the coming days, reducing their intensity. These earthquakes can last up to a year.he answers.

Where is the Kahramanmaras earthquake compared to other earthquakes in the world?


The Kahramanmarash earthquake, which caused great destruction in many regions, was felt in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and even Greenland! Some of these countries even had earthquake victims. In other words, the earthquake was one of the strongest natural phenomena that not only Turkey, but the whole world has ever seen. So how does it compare to other major earthquakes in the world?

The number of earthquakes with a magnitude above 7 per year worldwide does not exceed 20. However, over the past 10 years, only two earthquakes with the magnitude of the Kahramanmaras earthquake have occurred in the world. Over the past 10 years, there have been 4 earthquakes of similar magnitude. Unfortunately, two strong earthquakes occurred in our country on the same day, which are extremely rare in the world. In other words, the earthquake that claimed the lives of thousands of our people is one of the biggest disasters not only in Turkey, but throughout the world.

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