Turkey, earthquake

Turkey suffered in 2021 an earthquake every 20 minutes

Turkey recorded 23,753 earthquakes last year, 3 earthquakes per hour… but seismologists consider 2021 a “quiet” year.

Turkey experienced an earthquake every 20 minutes during the past year 2021, with an average of three earthquakes an hour, according to statistical data published by Turkish media, although only three of those tremors reached a magnitude on the Richter scale higher than 6 degrees, from which it is considered that they can cause serious harm and victims.

Earthquakes in Turkey are registered by the 1,143 seismic monitoring stations that the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) has throughout the country, to which must be added those that other institutions or some universities have; and statistics indicate that last year there were a total of 23,753 earthquakes: that is, on average there were about 65 earthquakes each day of different magnitudes.

Bülent Özmen, associate professor at Ankara’s Gazi University Earthquake Engineering Research Centre, explained to the Anadolu news agency that these data serve to provide a basis for scientists to work on projections of future earthquakes, as well as to develop hazard maps for earthquakes, or even for tsunamis.

According to Özmen, only three of the earthquakes that occurred last year had an intensity equal to or greater than 6 and, therefore, the potential to cause damage or casualties; on the contrary, of those 23,753 earthquakes detected in 2021, 23,519 had an intensity equal to or less than 3.9, which is considered relatively safe and with a minimal risk of generating damage or injury.

Seismologists consider 2021 a “quiet” year for earthquakes

Another 234 tremors reached a magnitude equal to or greater than 4, which is equivalent to an earthquake of intensity equal to or greater than 4 every 36 hours. The largest inland earthquake was the one recorded on June 25, 2021 in Bingöl, which reached a magnitude of 5.2 degrees. A total of 5 earthquakes of a magnitude equal to or greater than 5 were recorded in 2021, most with epicentre at sea.

The month with the most earthquakes detected was August, with 2,577 tremors of different magnitudes registered, while the month with the lowest number of earthquakes was December, with a total of 1,612. It was precisely in August 1999 when Turkey suffered the so-called Great Marmara Earthquake, which on August 17 of that year devastated the entire northwest of the country for 45 seconds with an intensity of 7.4 degrees, causing 17,000 deaths.

Despite the fact that the figure of 23,753 earthquakes in 2021 – one every 20 minutes – may be alarming, the fact is that seismologists consider 2021 a “relatively calm” year. That is because the average for the last decade is 25,978 earthquakes per year, and in fact in 2020 there were close to 34,000 earthquakes in Turkey. “We have about 1,000 faults with the potential to generate earthquakes, both at sea and on land. Last year, the Aegean Sea was particularly active and caused tremors that reached a magnitude of 6.3 ”, Özmen concluded.