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Following an earthquake that struck Turkey What can scientists learn about the aftermath of earthquakes

On Monday, another earthquake struck the southeastern region of Turkey close to an area that is near the Syrian border. The latest quake measured a magnitude of 6.3 — which is a notch smaller than the original, destructive 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and that magnitude 7.5 aftershock which struck the region two weeks ago on February. 6. At the very least six people died and more than 200 wounded during the latest quake.

A magnitude of 6.3 is considered to be a strong quake in the eyes of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). As NPR previously reported, a few residents were in buildings seeking to retrieve belongings they that were lost in the initial earthquake the day after Monday’s aftershock struck.

It caused us to think what are aftershocks? How long will those living in Turkey as well as other neighboring countries such as Syria must endure aftershocks, while putting their lives back to normal? Days? Years?

Turkey is “overdue” in the event of a major earthquake. How could we not have predicted it?

Geologist for earthquakes Wendy Bohon says that to be considered an aftershock an earthquake should be accompanied by an “mainshock,” the largest earthquake that has ever occurred in the region and take place before the region has returned to the normal baseline seismicity. It is noted that aftershocks can be frequent and are expected to occur at times up to a decade in the aftermath of an earthquake. This is because “they’re one of the few earthquakes we actually can anticipate,” Bohan says.

In actual fact the USGS says that after an M7.8 earthquake such as February. 6 it is “extremely typical for hundreds of subsequent earthquakes to take place within the next few weeks or months, and even years.”

Unfortunately, there isn’t any technology that can precisely and accurately forecast when another aftershock will occur.

“I would like to be able say to those living from Syria and Turkey that ‘You’re done. It’s good. It’s over. It’s time to build again”” Bohan says. Bohan. “But we’re aware that the earth operates in certain ways, and we’re aware that there will be more aftershocks and will remain shaking. Additionally … the result is an incredibly devastating, traumatizing scenario.”



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