PanamaTimes

Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

What is an aftershock - and why are mass landslides now likely after the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria?

What is an aftershock - and why are mass landslides now likely after the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria?

The earthquake that caused such huge devastation in Turkey and Syria occurred along the East Anatolian Fault zone and was followed by dozens of aftershocks.

Two powerful earthquakes and dozens of aftershocks have wrought incalculable destruction on parts of Turkey and Syria, with much of the devastation hitting communities already vulnerable following a decade of war.

It is feared the death toll could rise to more than 20,000.

The initial 7.8 magnitude quake was followed by a 6.7 magnitude aftershock just 11 minutes later.

Another quake - almost as strong as the first, at 7.5 magnitude - hit the area within hours on Monday.



What causes earthquakes?


An earthquake is caused by what's known as a "sudden slip" on a fault line.

The Earth's tectonic plates are always moving, but they can get stuck at their edges due to friction, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) says.

It's when this stress at the edge overcomes the friction that an earthquake occurs, releasing energy in waves that travel through the Earth's crust and cause the shakes that we feel on the surface.

Yesterday's quake struck along the East Anatolian Fault zone, which runs from eastern to south-central Turkey.

Alex Hatem, a USGS research geologist, said in this case, "one plate moved west while the other moved east".

A satellite map of areas impacted by the Turkey-Syria earthquake. Pic: United Nations Satellite Centre


The Turkey-Syria disaster is thought to be a "strike-slip" quake, which occurs when two tectonic plates slide past each other horizontally.

What's the difference between an earthquake and an aftershock?


Aftershocks are a sequence of quakes that happen after the larger "mainshock" on a fault.

They tend to occur near the fault where the mainshock occurred and are part of the "readjustment process" after the main slip on the fault, the scientists at USGS say.

They become less frequent as time passes following the initial shock, but can continue for days, weeks, months, or even years.

When an earthquake hit the East Anatolian area in 1822, aftershocks continued throughout the following year.

The strongest aftershock after yesterday's quake was recorded as a 7.5 magnitude quake.

That's what made this such a rare and unusual disaster.

The last time there were any tremors of similar strength in the region was in 1872.

Several fault lines run through Turkey and Syria


The major aftershock was probably caused by the initial quake destabilising an adjacent fault that had also accumulated geological stresses over the years.

No wonder then that Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at University College London, told Sky News on Monday that what Turkey and Syria have experienced is "the worst kind of earthquake".

Why are mass landslides likely following the earthquake?


Professor Bruce Malamud, an expert in natural and environmental Hazards at King's College London, warns that "hundreds if not thousands" of landslides could now follow the devastating earthquake.

It means that thousands of people affected by the quake could face fresh danger.

Strong earthquake ground shaking increases the likelihood of landslides in certain areas.

If the ground is saturated with water, particularly following heavy rainfall, the shaking will result in more landslides than normal.

e said: "As a result of the Turkey earthquake, the hazard relief agencies and managers will also be conscious of other natural hazards and multi-hazard cascades.

"The seismic activity will likely trigger hundreds if not thousands of landslides in the hours to days after the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks."

Those organising the large-scale evacuations of people will need to be conscious that they are not transferred to an at-risk area.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×