By now, you’re probably aware of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria Monday morning on February 6. Over ten thousands of people have been reported killed and thousands more remain injured in the two countries, with thousands of buildings collapsed.
A 7.8 magnitude is classified as a “major” earthquake and was followed by several aftershocks, including a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. The epicenter of the first earthquake broke along 62 miles (100 kilometers) of fault line near Gaziantep, Turkey near the border of Syria. The second occurred further inland, north of the first quake.
Rescue workers are continuing to brave the cold temperatures searching through the rubble for survivors and the deceased. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday. Rescue teams have been sent from around the world, including the United States and many European countries.
Hundreds of thousands of Turks without homes are sheltering in stadiums, mosques, and malls throughout the country. Syrians, however, have fewer options as the country has been plagued by years of civil war. On top of that, many of the roads that are relied on to bring aid to Syria from Turkey have been badly damaged by the earthquakes.
Cherished historic sites such as ancient towers and walls in Aleppo, Syria, as well as the citadel, a World Heritage Site, have been damaged. UNESCO has already determined that many sites throughout the two countries have been badly damaged or completely collapsed.
Quake in the Philippines
The month started off with a 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck the southeastern Philippines at a depth of 6.8 miles in a mountainous region on February 1. Fortunately, there were no deadly reports and damages remained low.
Gov. Dorothy Gonzaga of the province of Davao de Oro suspended school and most government work Thursday due to the quake’s vicinity, 8.7 miles northeast of the coastal town of New Bataan. With more than 700,000 people in a region that was recently battered by storms, Gonzaga wanted to allow time to inspect buildings for damage.
The Philippines sits on the “Ring of Fire,” where 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur. It stretches around the Pacific Ocean from eastern Asia to the west coast of the Americas. 75% of the world’s active volcanoes sit on the “Ring of Fire,” hence where it got its name. The last “major” earthquake to hit the Philippines occurred in 1990 in the north, a 7.7 magnitude quake that killed close to 2,000 people.
Quake in New York
On a much smaller scale, Buffalo, New York experienced a 3.8 magnitude earthquake on Monday, the same day as the Turkey quakes. More specifically, officials said the epicenter of the quake was located near West Seneca. People in Buffalo reported violent shakes to their homes but nothing serious enough to cause damage or major injuries.
The Recent Activity
There has been a spike in earthquakes reported around the world in recent years. However, that doesn’t mean the planet is experiencing more quakes. We just have more seismic instruments around the globe able to detect earthquakes. There are approximately 55 earthquakes per day, according to the National Earthquake Information Center.
Earth’s top layer is made up of plates that are constantly moving alongside each other. They are often in contact with one another and sometimes slip once the pressure becomes too much, causing an earthquake. In the case of Turkey, the Anatolian plate is moving southward against the Arabian plate to form the East Anatolian Fault.
How You Can Help
The World Health Organization estimates that the earthquakes have impacted 21.4 million adults and 1.6 million children in Turkey and Syria. Several aid groups are taking donations, including UNICEF, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and The International Rescue Committee. Relief efforts include medical assistance, shelter, and food for survivors.