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Turkey Earthquake: Death toll crosses 22000, Turkey, Syria request more aid

Turkey earthquake: The total death toll the 22000 mark in one of the worst earthquakes witnessed by mankind that hit the neighboring countries of Turkey and Syria. Both countries have requested additional aid from the international community, while help is pouring-in from across the countries. 

The earthquake is considered one of the worst in the past hundred years, to hit the area. Such a tragedy makes one wonder about the cause and why an earthquake of such extremity occurred. 

Earthquake-prone zone

According to experts, the earthquake that hit Turkey was a “strike-slip quake”, which is caused when the tectonic plates located below the earth’s surface slide past each other, rather than moving up and down. 

It is important to know that the earth is made up of seven large layers, known as tectonic plates. The ‘fractures’ present in these plates is also known as the fault lines. Any movement between the fault lines results in earthquakes that may vary in intensity. 

According to various seismologists, the country of Turkey is located over the Anatolian tectonic plates, placed amidst the African and Eurasian plates. The North Anatolian Fault (NAF) line of these plates is considered very dangerous as it can cause extreme seismic activity.

As the country lies at the intersection of three major tectonic plates; the Anatolian, Arabian, and African plates, several seismology experts have tagged Turkey as one of the most earthquake-prone nations in the world. 

Earlier deadly earthquakes in Turkey

In 2011, the area close to the Iranian border, known as Van was hit by two major earthquakes in October and November in which more than 900 people lost their lives. In one of the deadliest hits, a 7.4 intensity earthquake struck Izmat, the western city of Turkey, killing more than 17000 people. It was a result of the 60-year-old tectonic activity near the North Anatolian Fault that started in 1939. Close to 5000 lives were lost in the 7.3 intensity earthquake in November 1976. Earlier in December 1939, the Erzincan earthquake which read 8.2 on the Richter scale and is the most severe, ever recorded in history, left more than 30,000 dead. 

Earthquake-prone areas in India

Seismology experts have categorized some areas in the Indian subcontinent, that are prone to earthquakes. These are categorized into zones and each zone is tagged with Roman numbers, wherein Zone V is considered the most earthquake-prone area, in India the Rann of Kutch and the eastern region of the country is categorized as Zone V. The national capital of Delhi, the north and northeastern areas are categorized as Zone IV. 

Keeping in view the tragedy of Turkey and Syria, there is a need to take cognizance of the earthquake zones in India and the Himalayan nation of Nepal. The management steps taken now can help avoid a major disaster later. 

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