The earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey yesterday brought to mind the most important questions about it, especially how to predict the timing or intensity of earthquakes, and whether a strong earthquake can occur again now and future reserves.
The following are the most prominent questions about earthquakes, and their answers from geologist Samir al-Assad, head of the Syrian Geological Society:
What happened ?..
Based on the hypothesis of the existence of several “moving” tectonic plates on the Earth’s surface, including the Arab plate, which separates from the African plate by the Red Sea fault, which leads to the divergence of its banks by 2 cm annually, moving to the Dead Sea, then Sargaya and Baalbek in Lebanon, then the Al-Ghab Plain, all the way to the northern Kilis region. Western Syria and the Taurus Mountains, the movement of the Arabian plate towards the north and east led to its collision with the Anatolian plate, which caused the liberation of a latent force in the form of an earthquake in the form of a strong and destructive earthquake of 7.8 degrees on the Richter scale.
The Arabian plate is bounded to the east by the Iranian Zagros plate, and it is expected that the potential energy will accumulate on these borders in the future, and it may be transmitted through the faults of the Palmyra chain to form earthquakes that are difficult to predict the timing or intensity of their occurrence.
Historically, the last earthquake occurred in 1759 and destroyed a large part of the city of Damascus.
Historical earthquakes show that between every 250 and 300 years a major earthquake occurs on the Great Syrian-African Rift Line, but this is not certain.
Can a strong earthquake occur again now?
No...because the potential energy has been greatly discharged and another major earthquake cannot occur now, and what is happening is only aftershocks.
Can aftershocks occur?
Yes, there will be many, many aftershocks lasting from several hours to several days until the underlying force wears off.
Can earthquakes be predicted?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to accurately predict the occurrence of earthquakes in all countries of the world, but the occurrence of earthquakes is monitored through the National Seismological Center to develop a knowledge database for future analysis.
Can a marine tsunami occur now?
No... A tsunami cannot occur from the current earthquake, because its epicenter is on land and not at sea.
When an earthquake occurs in the sea, a tsunami can occur.
You do not need to worry because the aftershocks will gradually weaken in intensity.
Engineering codes must be set for earthquake-resistant buildings. If the buildings far from the epicenter of the earthquake were built according to the engineering codes, they would not have been affected by this earthquake, especially since its epicenter is central Turkey, and it is the place where large tremors are expected in the future.
And by comparing the losses at the epicenter site in Turkey with the losses in Syria, which is a great distance away from it, we find that our losses are greater as a result of the lack of requirements for buildings, which must be planned for in the future so as not to fall into this natural disaster.
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