Turkey News

An earthquake shakes the city of Kuşadası, in western Turkey, with no casualties

The western Turkish city of Kuşadası was hit by a 5.0 magnitude earthquake that was felt in neighboring provinces and on a Greek island, while an expert warned of potentially larger earthquakes in the region in the future.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced that the epicenter of the earthquake which occurred at 6:24 a.m. local time was in the Gulf of Kuşadası in the Aegean Sea. Tremors sent people running through the streets and were felt in neighboring provinces. It was preceded by a 3.8 magnitude earthquake five minutes earlier. No casualties or damage were reported.

The Geodynamic Institute in Athens, the Greek capital, reported that a magnitude 4.8 earthquake shook the Greek resort island of Samos, near Kuşadası. The Greek institute said the center of the earthquake was about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) below the seabed in the strait between Samos and near Kuşadası. “There were no injuries or significant damage,” the mayor of the main village, Giorgos Stantzos, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa). Residents and tourists on the island were roused from their slumber when the earthquake struck. The quake was also felt on the islands of Chios, Ikaria and along the Turkish Aegean coast, Greek media reported.

Residents spent the morning in parks or on the shore for fear of a repeat quake. “It was short but violent. I ran immediately. I remembered the earthquake two years ago,” said Mehmet Özişçi, a security guard who worked at night at the Demirören news agency ( DHA) He was referring to the deadly earthquake in the neighboring province of Izmir in 2020.

Professor Hasan Sözbilir, director of the Center for Earthquake Research (DAUM) at Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir, said earthquake fears were still widespread in the region after the earthquake in 2020. He said the latest earthquake was the result of a broken underwater fault line, between two other fault lines named Gümüldür and Efes. He noted that submarine fault lines were abundant between Gümüldür in Izmir and Samos and all were connected to each other. “The Gümüldür and Efes fault lines are active but they have not generated a devastating earthquake for a long time. They have the potential to generate earthquakes of magnitude between 5.7 and 6.8,” he told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Sözbilir noted that some 10,000 aftershocks were reported in the region following the 2020 Izmir earthquake, and the Kuşadası earthquake was also triggered by the tremors two years ago. He pointed out that all earthquakes in the region are triggered by each other, calling for measures against possible larger earthquakes. “Work to reduce fallout from earthquakes must be accelerated and existing buildings must be strengthened against potential damage from an earthquake,” he warned.

Between 6:24 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., another 33 earthquakes were recorded in the Menderes region and district of Izmir, between magnitudes of 1.1 and 2.7.

Izmir is at the heart of the Aegean region of Türkiye which stretches along the western coasts of the country. The region is a jagged strip of towns and villages where the eponymous sea crosses the land facing the mountains. Most settlements face countless islands, large and small, dotting the sea. The geography owes its current shape to earthquakes and shifting tectonic plates. The Greater Region is located right in the center of the meeting point of three tectonic plates extending into Africa, the Middle East and the Eurasian region. The Arabian and Eurasian plates collide in the eastern Aegean Sea, in an area covering Izmir and other Turkish provinces. Their collision pushes the Anatolian plate further north to the west, creating the potential for earthquakes.

Sitting on several active fault lines, Turkey has been going through a tough time in 2021, experiencing an average of three earthquakes per hour. Since the risk of larger earthquakes remains, the country is trying to protect its buildings as a precaution in the event of a “big one”. Statistics show that a total of 23,753 earthquakes were recorded over the past year.