The magnitude 7.7 earthquake with its epicenter in an area of southeastern Turkey near the border with Syria, which caused more than 1,500 deaths and 7,000 injuries on Monday, is the most serious registered in Turkey so far in the 21st century.
But also, with
ten affected provinces
, from the Adana plains on the Mediterranean coast to 2,500-meter peaks in Malatya, this earthquake is not only one of the strongest but also one
of the most extensive in many decades.
The epicenter was located in Pazarcik, in the province of Kahramanmaras, according to the Turkish emergency service Afad, although the Kandilli seismic observatory locates it in Sofalici, in the neighboring province of Gaziantep, about 40 kilometers further south.
The city of Gaziantep, capital of one of the two most affected provinces, which with two million inhabitants is the ninth largest city in the country, is one of the main centers of commerce in southern Anatolia, located on a plateau 800 meters high. altitude north of the Syrian border.
Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on Monday.
It hosts a third of the
1.5 million Syrian refugees
residing in the provinces affected by the quake and is the main crossing point for trade with Syria.
Adana, the country's seventh-largest city and one of its main industrial hubs, located 170 kilometers to the west on the Mediterranean coastal plain, has also suffered damage, when a 14-story building collapsed.
More serious were the consequences in the mountainous province of Kahramanmaras, with a million inhabitants, and in Malatya, located at an altitude of 1,000 meters at the foot of a mountain range that reaches 2,500 meters.
Difficult rescues under the snow
The heavy snowfall in this area, with temperatures below zero, complicate the rescue and aggravate the situation of the survivors.
Even in Diyarbakir, considered the "capital" of Kurdish-populated regions in southeastern Anatolia, several buildings collapsed, although the city of more than a million is 250 kilometers east of the epicenter.
But through here runs
the eastern Anatolian fault line,
which separates the tectonic plates of the Anatolian highlands from the Arabian plains and extends to Adana in the Mediterranean.
Along this fault, many dozens of earthquakes of up to 6 degrees of magnitude have been recorded during the last century, and seven of between 6 and 7 degrees, but none of the destructive force that Monday's had.
Turkey's largest earthquakes have been on the Bitlis-Zagros fault, which runs from the eastern end of Anatolia into the mountains of Iran, and on the northern Anatolian fault, which runs along the Black Sea coast and reaches to the Sea of Marmara, south of Istanbul.
The first is responsible for the 7.2-magnitude Van earthquake that left more than 600 dead in 2011, and the second was the cause of the 7.6-magnitude Izmit earthquake, which in 1999 devastated this city located 80 kilometers east of Istanbul and caused more than 17,000 deaths.
The deadliest, in 1999
The deadliest earthquake in the last 50 years in Turkey, measuring 7.4, occurred on August 17, 1999 with an epicenter in Izmir, in the northwest of the country, and left some
500,000 homeless, and 45,000 injured. and 15 million affected.
This Monday is also
the second strongest earthquake in 100 years
, after the one that shook Erzincan, in eastern Turkey, on December 26, 1939, measuring 7.8.
That earthquake left
more than 32,000 dead
and caused a tsunami in the Black Sea, located about 160 kilometers from the epicenter.
During the last 50 years there are no precedents in Syria for an earthquake that has caused as many victims and damage as the one registered this Monday.
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