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Why was the Turkey/Syria Earthquake so damaging? A look at the science behind it

A look at the science behind the 7.8M earthquake in Turkey and the following aftershocks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The massive earthquake near the border of Turkey and Syria early Monday has left thousands of buildings collapsed with a death toll continuing to climb today into the thousands as people get trapped in the rubble. It’s important to understand what caused this quake and why it’s been so destructive.

Also see the details behind an unusual cloud spotted over Turkey in January here.

Credit: WTLV

This quake took place along a strike slip fault. This fault called the Anatolian fault zone is the same one that caused a massive earthquake in Turkey in 1999 that killed 18,000 people.  This quakes intensity was a 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale but also it was only 11 miles deep. Which seems like deep, but when talking about earthquakes it’s actually rather close to the surface meaning more energy could reach the surface where in southern Turkey there are plenty of buildings not built to withstand a powerful earthquake like this. 

Credit: WTLV

What makes the problem worse is that after the initial 7.8 magnitude that hit the area an aftershock of 7.5 and multiple other 6.0 or higher quakes have hit the area compounding the problem on the weakening structures. 

Furthermore it’s winter in Turkey. So people who are stuck outside because buildings are unstable are dealing with freezing overnight temperatures and passing snowfall. Which based on their forecast does not look like it’s going to warm up anytime soon.  

Check the latest forecast on the First Coast here. 

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