Turkey, earthquake in İzmir

Several earthquakes shake the Turkish province of İzmir

Several earthquakes of magnitude between 5.2 and 4.8 affected İzmir, which at the end of 2020 suffered an earthquake that left 116 dead.

Several earthquakes of magnitude between 5.2 and 4.8 on the Richter scale shook the Aegean region on Monday and especially the Turkish province of İzmir, which already suffered a violent 6.6 earthquake a few months ago that caused the destruction of several buildings leaving more than a hundred dead in the third largest city in Turkey.

As reported by the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD), the first of the tremors was detected at 8:46 a.m. local time (6:46 CET) off the coast of the Karaburun peninsula, located west of the city of İzmir, reaching a magnitude of 5.2 on the Richter scale and occurring 20 kilometres under the earth’s surface.

Just a minute later, a second earthquake was recorded that reached 4.8 degrees and occurred at only 7 kilometres deep; subsequently there were at least three other aftershocks with a magnitude between 4.7 and 4.8 degrees. Finally at 11:35 local time (9:35 CET) a third earthquake was detected at only 3.42 kilometres deep and with an intensity of 5.1 degrees.

After these tremors, the seismographs detected several earthquakes of lesser magnitude – around 2 degrees of intensity – that gradually moved away from the epicentre of the first earthquake, which was located off the coast of the Greek island of Lesbos.

A fault in front of the Greek island of Lesbos causes the earthquakes

Both the main earthquake and successive aftershocks could be felt in other provinces in western Turkey, including Çanakkale and Balıkesir, causing some people to take to the streets for fear. However, local authorities’ reports indicate that for now there are no records of victims or material damage, according to the Turkish Minister of Environment and Urban Planning, Murat Kurum.

According to experts, this chain of earthquakes would have occurred as a result of a rupture of a fault line located near the island of Lesbos, about 370 kilometres north of Karaburun, in an area of ​​the Aegean where another earthquake of 6.3 degrees in 2017 caused serious damage on the island, although not so in Turkey.

This fault line, which crosses off the south coast of Lesbos from northwest to southeast, has the potential to generate earthquakes of up to 6.6 degrees of intensity (like the one that affected İzmir a few months ago); however, seismologists point out that the Karaburun peninsula has solid buildings built on rock foundations, which may explain why no significant damage has been recorded in the area.

Turkey is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, crossed by several active faults, and it experiences earthquakes periodically. At the end of October 2020, the city of İzmir suffered an earthquake of 6.6 degrees – in that case with an epicentre to the north of the Greek island of Samos, south of the Karaburun peninsula – that collapsed several buildings in the third largest city in the country, causing 116 deaths and more than a thousand wounded.