Jordi Diaz, a seismologist at the Geociencias Barcelona (Geo3Bcn) Institute of the Scientific Research High Council in Spain, made evaluations about the earthquakes affecting 10 provinces in Türkiye and also northearn Syria.
"A very large, deadly earthquake, the biggest earthquake of the century in Türkiye according to statistics." Diaz said that earthquakes of this magnitude occur 10-20 times a year in the world, but there are some differences in terms of the destructiveness of the earthquake in Türkiye.
Diaz stated that the depth of the earthquake that affected 10 provinces in the region is 15-20 kilometers, very close to the surface, its center is located in settlements and the lack of durable buildings are the main reasons for the high losses and said, "We call earthquakes like in Türkiye 'shallow earthquakes' and how shallow they are. the more impact it has.”
Explaining that the earthquake that occurred in the city of Lorca in southern Spain on May 11, 2011 was a much shallower earthquake, but caused less loss due to its low magnitude, Diaz said, "The earthquake in Lorca was very shallow at a depth of 3-5 kilometers, but it was 5.1 magnitude. There are about 10 thousand earthquakes a year in the world of this magnitude. It caused deaths due to the settlement in Lorca. If we look at the energy release, the earthquake in Türkiye was more than 1000 times that in Spain."
Diaz also compared the earthquakes in Türkiye with the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that occurred in the central region of Italy in August 2016 and killed more than 290 people, saying, "There was a vertical break in Italy. A completely horizontal fault line in Türkiye. Earthquakes with completely different mechanisms."
He said, "The earthquake in Türkiye took place in a risky area designated as 'red' on the seismic map. It was known that there would be an earthquake here, but of course it was not known whether it would happen in the last week or in the next 20 or 50 years. Here is the problem," and countinued:
"In earthquakes, we know the risk area, but since we do not know the time, what we need to do is to be prepared in the best way and to build durable structures. Losses cannot be avoided in an earthquake of this magnitude, but whether the losses are more or less depends on many factors."
Diaz stated that there was an earthquake in 2011 in Japan with a magnitude of 9.1 in Tohoku, which was "unusual, which can be called extraordinary", similar to the one in Türkiye: "We can say that the amount of energy released is 30 times more than in Japan."
Underlining that Kahramanmaras-centered earthquakes should be examined in detail, Diaz continued as follows:
"There have been earthquakes on two different fault lines in Türkiye, and it is still being debated scientifically whether it is an aftershock or a different earthquake. Most likely, the first earthquake triggered the second. How these ruptures happened is a subject that needs to be studied scientifically in a very different direction by experts.
"Data from these earthquakes will certainly be used to make progress in earthquake studies. It will also help to better understand the geodynamic status of regional fault lines when examined as a rupture pattern. The data that will be released may change seismic risks, existing rules or areas of surveillance."