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Aerial Shots Show Fields And Tracks Displaced By Turkey’s Earthquake

The February 2023 earthquake devastated the country.

These amazing aerial shots show whole fields and railway tracks shunted sideways by last year’s earthquake in Turkey. The February 6 earthquakes that hit the country were the most devastating for a century.


Now scientists have traced it back to small movements of the tectonic plate on the Africa/Arabia boundary which spread, hitting the Arabia/Anatolia boundary which in turn set off the entire East Anatolian fault system (EAFZ), causing the devastation.


The study, published in the journal Science, shows entire fields were pushed sideways, and even train tracks were bent two meters to the side. As well as this was the general damage to towns and cities of the quake which killed 55,000 people and left another 100,000 injured. A team from the China University of Geosciences, US Geological Survey, and Middle East Technical University were on the scene one day after the quakes.


They used drones and field surveys to make the most detailed maps of a major continental earthquake ever which they believe will help protect other communities in earthquake prone areas in the future.


“When the rupture hit the Arabia/Anatolia boundary, it exploded, like a bullet hitting a bomb, and activated the entire East Anatolian fault system. The initial rupture was on the Dead Sea fault zone, yet maximum displacements and energy release occurred 24 seconds later when the rupture transferred to the East Anatolian fault zone,” said Lead author and doctoral student Jiannan Meng from China University of Geosciences.


“More than seven hours later, an aftershock at the junction of the EAFZ with the east-west striking Çardak-Sürgü fault wasfoll owed 86 minutes later by the second large earthquake, suggesting a causal relationship. We provided quantitative ground and aerial documentation of surface offsets and kinematics from the slipped faults, providing important data on surface deformation during large continental strike-slip earthquakes, rupture propagation mechanisms, and how slip may be transferred between complex fault systems,” he added.


“This allowed us to extract kinematic and displacement data from fault planes in surface soils, rocks, and human constructions such as roads, fences, farm field borders, railroads, and buildings. Many of these features were quickly eroded by rains or destroyed by reconstruction after the earthquakes. We investigated most of the length of the rupture along the EAFZ, extending more than 300 km (984252 feet),” explained Jiannan Meng.


“We also provide insight into how slip along linked fault systems accommodates global plate motions. Our study may improve understanding of the physics of large earthquakes and how individual fault systems accommodate global plate motions, and this knowledge may contribute to protecting society from the consequences of
major earthquakes,” he continued.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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