Earthquake in Turkey and Environment

On Monday, 6th February 2023, a deadly earthquake hit Turkey and Syria and has taken lives of around 1000 people with thousands of people injured. The toll is increasing since then with massive property losses.

Beside irreversible loss of thousands of lives, there are various potential effects of earthquakes on environment including surface faulting, tsunamis, soil liquefactions, ground resonance, landslides, and ground failure, either directly linked to the earthquake source or provoked by the ground shaking. Some of the common impacts of earthquakes also include structural damage to buildings, fires, damage to bridges and highways and initiation of slope failures. These effects of earthquake on environment are discussed below briefly.

Surface rupture/ surface faulting occurs when movement on a fault deep within the earth breaks through to the surface. Not all earthquakes result in surface faulting.

Tsunamis are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. Out in the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not dramatically increase in height. But as the waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights as the depth of the ocean decreases. The speed of tsunami waves depends on ocean depth rather than the distance from the source of the wave. Tsunami waves may travel as fast as jet planes over deep waters, only slowing down when reaching shallow waters.

Liquefaction takes place when loosely packed, water-logged sediments at or near the ground surface lose their strength in response to strong ground shaking. Liquefaction occurring beneath buildings and other structures can cause major damage during earthquakes.

Due to earthquake, If the natural frequency of the ground matches the natural frequency of a structure built on that ground, then the motion of the building will be amplified, resulting in a vigorous oscillating movement. This higher amplitude oscillation is known as resonance.

Earthquakes often trigger landslides, causing significant and even catastrophic damage to houses. If your house is in the path of an earthquake-induced landslide, it is at risk for damage from landslide debris, as well as sliding downhill itself.

Ground failures generated by earthquakes include lateral spread, flow failures and bearing capacity failures—all caused by liquefaction-landslides caused by weakening of sensitive clays, and rock and soil slips and falls on steep slopes.

These effects on earthquake on environment damage the earthquake hit area in more depth making it difficult for the citizens to rebound to pre-disaster situations.



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