Düzce quake was first mid-sized to occur after two big quakes: Expert
The 5.9 magnitude earthquake that occurred in the northwestern province of Düzce early on Nov. 23 was the first mid-sized earthquake that occurred after two major quakes, an expert has said, referring to quakes that occurred in Düzce and Kocaeli, 100 kilometers to the east, in 1999, that killed more than 18,000 people in total.
“It was a surprise as it was a place we never expected,” said geology engineer Şerif Barış. “I don’t think there will be any damage in cities and towns, there may be damage in villages.”
Türkiye is located in the Alpide belt, a seismic and orogenic belt that includes an array of mountain ranges extending for more than 15,000 kilometers (9,300 miles) along the southern margin of Eurasia, so it always has to be ready, the expert added.
“It is really the first time I have seen such a medium-sized earthquake after two major earthquakes,” Barış said.
The catastrophic magnitude-7.6 earthquake in the Kocaeli province in 1999 that lasted for 37 seconds caused monumental damage and 17,127–18,373 deaths, is widely remembered as one of the deadliest natural disasters in modern Turkish history.
The 1999 Düzce earthquake occurred approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the east of the İzmit quake that happened a few months earlier.
Both strike-slip earthquakes were caused by movement on the North Anatolian Fault.
“There is a very high probability that an unbroken fault piece was broken on the fault line where the İzmit earthquake took place,” said Ziyadin Çakır, another expert from Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ).
The probability of a larger earthquake is very low, the expert said, but warning citizens to stay away from damaged buildings.
Stating that aftershocks could last a week, professor Şükrü Ersoy said, “This does not mean that we got rid of the earthquake reality as the quake was not a foreshock for the expected Istanbul quake.”
A magnitude-7 earthquake is expected in Marmara, further east, the expert elaborated.
A report last year by the Urban Transformation Foundation (Kentsev) revealed that at least half a million buildings could be damaged as a result of an earthquake that is expected to occur in Istanbul.
Experts have long warned that the population in the city should be reduced in order not to face chaos in a possible earthquake.
“We have to get used to living with earthquakes in this region as Düzce Plain consists of alluvial soil and we make building on these lands,” said Cemalettin Şahin, a professor from Marmara University.
The important thing is to be cautious and build solid buildings, he said.