Thursday, March 11, 2010

Turkey: Earthquake

The 6.0-magnitude quake, epicentred on the village of Basyurt in Elazig province, struck at 0432 (0232 GMT). It has been followed by more than 40 aftershocks. Officials said the nearby village of Okcular had been almost destroyed and several others badly damaged. The 6.0-magnitude quake struck before dawn on Monday 8-3-2010, toppling buildings in five villages. The earthquake that struck near the eastern Turkish village of Basyurt is the latest in a series of deadly tremors to hit the country. The destruction was said to be worst in the Kurdish village of Okcular, where at least 15 people were killed.

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An earthquake expert said that an earthquake with this magnitude should not usually cause any deaths, but mud-brick houses and other buildings that are not resistant to earthquakes can cause so much death and destruction

Turkey, which is crossed by the Northern and Eastern Anatolian fault lines, suffers from frequent earthquakes.Turkey is fundamentally vulnerable to earthquakes because of its geographical location. The country sits between two huge tectonic plates, Eurasia and Africa/Arabia, which are inexorably grinding into one another, north to south.

The Anatolian plate, on which most of the Turkish landmass lies, is being squeezed westwards towards the Aegean Sea. Periodic movements happen along two main faults, the North Anatolian fault and the East Anatolian fault. The earthquake in Basyurt looks likely to have been triggered by movement on the eastern fault.

Many of the earthquake are minor, though a 7.4-magnitude tremor which hit the western city of Izmit in August 1999 killed more than 17,000 people. Istanbul is a city that's at risk from a significant earthquake at some point in the future.

This means safe building practices are essential in earthquake-prone areas.

Many of the losses in earthquake regions arise from non-compliance with earthquake building codes. Severe damage can be caused by relatively small earthquakes.

Poor quality buildings were also blamed for the high death toll then and there is still concern in Turkey's largest city, where seismologists predict a major earthquake will occur within the next few decades.

But ironically the poor quality buildings are always the excuses by the government after the earthquakes in Turkey. It seems that no action were taken after many earthquakes. Compared to Chile, Turkish government is not a responsible government, as being located at earthquake prone area, the strict building code for earthquake resistant buildings is important, and to be strictly enforced, especially at urban area. Is it because it was a Kurdish area? Should the government wait until Istanbul is destroyed?....

God save Turkey.....

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