Istanbul, tsunami risk in the Sea of Marmara

Turkish parliament report warns of tsunami risk in Istanbul

In case of earthquake, it would take 10 minutes for waves to reach coast, exceeding 5 metres and penetrating 150 metres on the mainland.

A report presented to the Turkish parliament warns of the risk of a tsunami in Istanbul and throughout the Marmara region – the most populated region in Turkey – in the event of a big earthquake such as the one expected to occur in a few years in this Northwest area of ​​the country.

Presented by a subcommittee of the Turkish National Assembly that assesses the risks in the event of an earthquake in Turkey, the report highlights that the Eurasian country is susceptible to the effects of a tsunami due to the high seismic activity that occurs under the sea, explaining that the coasts of the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Marmara would suffer especially the consequences because they are densely populated.

The text indicates that in the event of a large earthquake that causes a tsunami in the Sea of ​​Marmara, waves would take less than 10 minutes to reach the coast of Istanbul, adding that an earthquake of magnitude 7 or higher on the Richter scale – such as the “Big One” expected in a few decades in Istanbul – would have a 10% probability of causing a tsunami in the region.

“All relevant agencies, mainly the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency, should develop evacuation protocols and action plans for coastal populations, once the dangers and risks and the probability of damage are determined (in the event of a tsunami)”, concludes the report.

Waves could exceed 5 meters and penetrate 150 meters on land

In fact, a plan recently drawn up by various official bodies already provides for the evacuation of Istanbul residents by ships and other means. Another report prepared already in 2007 and cited by the Istanbul Metropolitan City Council (it can be consulted here) already warned that the most exposed areas would be the south coast of Istanbul and especially the Asian shore, with waves that could exceed 5.5 metres and penetrate up to 150 metres on land.

Other reports have raised the height of the waves up to 10 metres in areas such as the Princes’ Islands, in the event of a tsunami in Istanbul. Turkey is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, registering daily earthquakes of different intensity. The largest earthquake suffered in the modern history of the country was the Great Marmara Earthquake of 1999, of magnitude 7.4 and with an epicentre in İzmit, which devastated the region causing more than 17,000 deaths.