2/3/2002 Turkish Earthquake

Updated 2/3/2002

On the morning of February 3, 2002 at 7:11 GMT (09:11 local time) a 6.2 magnitude earthquake was felt in Western Turkey. The epicenter was 130 miles SW of Ankara, 300 miles SE of Istanbul. 45 people have been confirmed dead with at least 130 injuries.

Afyon province at the epicenter is a sparsely populated rural area. Most casualties were in industrial developments, where several buildings collapsed. Since the quake occurred on Sunday morning when most people were home, there are fewer casualties than there might have been had the quake been at a different time. The Turkish government immediately sent 3000 tents and rescue workers. President Echivit visited the area. The government had been criticized for its slow response to the much larger 1999 quake. This was a shallow quake, only 10 km deep. In general quakes at this depth are caused by lateral movements of the earth's crust. The quake occurred in an area characterized by frequent shallow quakes. The entire west coast of Turkey from the Black Sea right around the coast down to the Mediterranean is part of this zone. Istanbul is the largest city in this area and is definitely considered at risk for a major quake with thousand of casualties. This part of Turkey is located near the intersection of three major tectonic plates. The Eurasian Plate is to the north, The African and Arabian plates to the South and Southeast are moving generally northwards, squeezing Turkey in the process. Earthquakes on the Anatolian Fault are the result of these pressures. (See the http://theearthquakemuseum.weebly.com/plate-tectonics.html">Plate Tectonics page for more information on these processes.)

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