top of page

Scientists call 2 major earthquakes in southern Türkiye ‘rare’

Scientists said that the two major earthquakes that, hours apart, jolted Türkiye’s south on Monday are seen as rare and came as a surprise to seismologists.

“There are many things that surprise the community about this earthquake sequence. And the fact that there were two very large earthquakes just a few hours apart, in fact, has distinct faults that are nearby, but not the same. I believe that has never been seen before for an earthquake of this magnitude,” Sylvain Barbot, associate professor of earth sciences at the University of Southern California, told Anadolu.

He said that the fault that caused the second earthquake “was seismically inactive for all of the historical times. So, based on current knowledge, we would not predict that. We would think that it would be an inactive fault that used to be active in the distant past and cannot create earthquakes, but we were wrong.”

Barbot said that there are large numbers of faults in the area and that the first earthquake was on the East Anatolian fault, “which is the kind of geographical boundary of Anatolia to the east.”

“And this fault connects two other major faults. The one to the north is the North Anatolian fault, which ruptured in 1999, with the Izmit and Duzce earthquakes,” and one line is going to the south, said Barbot, adding: “Given the circumstance, we can certainly imagine that there will be other large earthquakes and nearby faults. So, these are two possibilities for earthquake triggering to the south and to the west of the ruptures.”

Barbot said that the quakes created a movement of a few meters due to the movement of tectonic plates.

“These faults do not actually move for quite some time. And eventually, they release all of this displacement that was forced by the motion of tectonic plates into a single event within just a few seconds. And that's why for just a few seconds, you have displacements of several meters. This is the underlying driving force for earthquakes,” said Barbot.


bottom of page