Sunday 28 May 2017

Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake in Izmir Province, Turkey.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km, about 7 km to the west of the  town of Gölmarmara in Izmir Province, southwest Turkey, slightly after 6.50 pm local time (slightly after 3.50 pm GMT) on Saturday 27 May 2017. There are no reports of any fatalities associated with this event, but at least one person injured and a number of buildings destroyed. The event was felt across much of western Turkey. 

Damage following the 27 May 2017 Izmir Earthquake. Daily Sabah.

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.

The approximate location of the 27 May 2017 Izmir Province Earthquake. USGS.

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.

Plate movements and fault zones around the Anatolian Plate. Mike Norton/Wikimedia Commons.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
See also...
Follow Sciency Thoughts on Facebook.