Turkey, earthquake in Kuşadası

No casualties after earthquake in Kuşadası, western Turkey

The earthquake caused fear in an area where in 2020 an earthquake left 115 dead in Izmir. In 2021, Turkey suffered 3 earthquakes every hour.

The earthquake that occurred in recent hours in Kuşadası, on the west coast of Turkey, did not cause any casualties but it did spread fear among the population of the region, who still remember with anguish the earthquake that two years ago caused 115 deaths and more than one thousand injured in the neighbouring city of İzmir, the third largest in the country.

As reported by the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD), the earthquake, which reached 5 degrees on the Richter scale, was unleashed at 6:24 local time (5:24 CET) on Sunday in the Gulf of Kuşadası, on the west coast of Anatolia washed by the Aegean Sea. About 5 minutes earlier, a 3.8-degree tremor preceded the main earthquake, after which and until 9:30 a.m. local time, at least 33 aftershocks were recorded in the region, which did not exceed 2.7 degrees of intensity.

In neighbouring Greece, the Athens Institute of Geodynamics also confirmed that a 4.8-magnitude earthquake had been recorded at the same time on the Greek island of Samos, located about 15 kilometres off the coast of Kuşadası, a popular tourist and cruise ships destination located less than 20 kilometres from the ruins of Ephesus, a World Heritage Site.

The earthquake, which could be felt in several provinces in western Turkey, unleashed panic among the local population, who in many cases ran into the streets when they felt the shaking, and spent the morning in parks and squares for fear of new tremors. “It was brief, but violent. I ran outside immediately. I remembered the earthquake two years ago,” a witness told reporters, referring to the 2020 İzmir earthquake.

In 2021, Turkey suffered 3 earthquakes every hour

Professor Hasan Sözbilir, director of the Earthquake Research Center of the September 9 University of İzmir, explained that the last earthquake was caused by the rupture of an underwater fault, and added that these types of faults are very numerous between İzmir and Samos and are interconnected with each other. “The Gümüldür and Efes faults (where yesterday’s earthquake occurred) are active but have not generated a devastating earthquake for a long time. They have the potential to generate earthquakes of magnitude between 5.7 and 6.8”, he added.

Turkey, crossed by multiple tectonic faults, is a country accustomed to earthquakes, but 2021 was a particularly active year, with an average of 3 earthquakes per hour. Kuşadası and also İzmir, on the west coast of Turkey, are located in an area where the Anatolian Plate is pushed west by the Arabian Plate, colliding with the great Eurasian Plate and the Aegean Plate, frequently triggering major earthquakes.