7.8 magnitude earthquake hits Turkey

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit southern Turkey on Monday morning is tied for the strongest the country has seen in more than 100 years of records, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) .

The USGS said an equally powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Turkey in 1939 killed more than 30,000 people.

Karl Lang, an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech University, told CNN that the area hit by the earthquake on Monday was prone to seismic activity.

“It’s a seismogenic zone. It’s a very large fault zone, but it’s a bigger earthquake than they’ve seen in recent memory,” Lang said.
“The magnitude of the shaking felt at the surface depends both on the amount of energy released, the size of the earthquake, but also on how far that energy is released below the surface. So if it is very close to the surface, if it’s a shallow earthquake it can be very dangerous.”

Earthquakes of this magnitude are rare, with less than five occurring per year anywhere in the world, on average.

“What’s really unusual here is that it’s a very large earthquake that’s also close to the surface,” Lang said.

A bit of context: Turkey is no stranger to strong earthquakes; Seven earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have struck the country in the past 25 years, but Monday’s is the strongest. It is also the strongest earthquake on record globally since an 8.1 magnitude quake struck a remote area near the South Sandwich Islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean in 2021, n having caused no damage.


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