Sunday 3 November 2013

Magnitude 4.0 Earthquake in Van Province, Turkey.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.0 Earthquake at a depth of 5 km on the eastern shore of Lake Van, in Van Province, eastern Turkey, at about 0.40 am local time on Thursday 31 October 2013 (about 10.40 pm on Wednesday 30 October GMT). There are no reports of any damage or casualties arising from this event, though it was felt across several districts.

The approximate location of the 31 October 2013 Van Province Earthquake. Google Maps.

The majority of Asian Turkey lies on the Anatolian Plate, which is being pushed to the west by the northward movement of the Arabian Plate, which is in turn being pushed by the African Plate, further to the south. This creates as zone of faulting along the northern part of Turkey, the North Anatolian Fault Zone, as the Anatolian Plate is pushed past the Eurasian Plate, which underlies the Black Sea and Crimean Peninsula  (transform faulting). This is not a simple process, as the two plates constantly stick together, then break apart as the pressure builds up, leading to Earthquakes, which can be some distance from the actual fault zone.

This northward movement of the African and Arabian Plates also causes folding and uplift in the Caucasus Mountains, which separate Georgia from Russia. Again this is not a smooth process, with the rocks sticking together, then moving sharply as the pressure builds up enough to break them appart, which can also lead to Earthquakes in the region.

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