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Why Turkey is prone to devastating earthquakes?


Syllabus: Disaster Management


Source: The Hindu, Indian Express

 Context: Three earthquakes measuring — 7.8, 7.6, and 6.0 — magnitude on the Richter scale have devastated Turkey and Syria, while impacting regions as far away as Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt.

Turkey has announced a Level 4 alert calling for international aid; U.S., European Union, Russia, and Azerbaijan have reportedly dispatched aid.

 Why is Turkey prone to Earthquakes?

  • In the region of Turkey, Syria, and Jordan, tectonics are dominated by complex interactions between the African, Arabian, and Eurasian tectonic plates, and the Anatolian tectonic block.
  • Other factors:
    • Red Sea Rift, the spreading centre between the African and Arabian plates;
    • Dead Sea Transform, a major strike-slip fault that also accommodates Africa-Arabia relative motions;
    • North Anatolia Fault, a right-lateral strike-slip structure in northern Turkey accommodating much of the translational motion of the Anatolia block westwards with respect to Eurasia and Africa;
    • Cyprian Arc, a convergent boundary between the African plate and the Anatolia block.

What are aftershocks and why do they occur?

  • Aftershocks are a sequence of earthquakes that happen after a larger main shock on a fault. They occur near the fault zone where the main shock rupture occurred and are part of the “readjustment process” after the main slip on the fault.
  • While they become less frequent with time, they can continue for days, weeks, months, or even years for a very large main shock.


Insta Links:

Earthquakes in India


Mains Link:

Q. Discuss about the vulnerability of India to earthquake-related hazards. Give examples including the salient features of major disasters caused by earthquakes in different parts of India during the last three decades. – UPSC 2021

Q. The frequency of earthquakes appears to have increased in the Indian subcontinent. However, India’s preparedness for mitigating its impact has significant gaps. Discuss various aspects. – UPSC 2015


Prelim Links

Consider the following (UPSC 2013)

  1. Electromagnetic radiation
  2. Geothermal energy
  3. Gravitational force
  4. Plate movements
  5. Rotation of the earth
  6. Revolution of the earth

Which of the above is responsible for bringing dynamic changes on the surface of the earth?

(a) 1, 2, 3 and 4 only

(b) 1, 3, 5 and 6 only

(c) 2, 4, 5 and 6 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Answer: D