Devastating earthquakes, like the February 6 one in Turkey and Syria, are caused by shifting of tectonic plates

When flood waters recede, the dried out ground starts to crack. And it looks like this.

Now, picture the Planet Earth in its earlier fluid state. It looked much like a muddy field. Except it was hot magma, not cold mud. And as the magma began to cool, it also started to crack. (Magma is the molten or semi-molten natural material from which all igneous rocks are formed)

Over the hundreds of millions of years, the Earth formed a hard crust around the still fluid magma. But the cracks remained, deep under the surface. Like this.

And they occasionally stir and shift. The continental plates are constantly moving and shifting. And where they collide and rub against each other – bang! Earthquakes and tsunamis happen.

That’s what happened on February 6 along the East Anatolian fault line between Turkey and Syria. The result was over 24,000 dead and tens of thousands of injured.

The power of this week’s Turkey-Syria earthquakes was equivalent to 500 atomic explosions, the risk reduction general manager at the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has said.

And it all happened very fast. The first quake on Monday lasted 65 seconds, while the second went on for 45 seconds.


You’ve heard the expression “the ground shifted” when describing some “groundbreaking” event. Thats literally what happened in Turkey on Feb 6. The ground broke and shifted. Take a look at these stunning images.

In other words, we all live on an unstable ground. It’s just that some of us are farther away from cracks than others. Do you know where the nearest fault line is to your home?

That is one of the criteria this writer had used in the past in selecting the places where he and his family lived. Of course, not everybody has the luxury of choosing a place to live. But if you do, knowing where the fault lies [pun intended :-)] may save your life.




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