The expected earthquake in the Marmara region in northwestern Turkey will “push the area about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) towards Greece,” according to the seismologist.
Geophysics professor Avgun Ahmet Erkan warned of the fault line across the Marmara Sea, which lies off the shores of the most populous city of Istanbul. The fault line runs through Tekirdag, a province west of Istanbul, where the predicted epicenter of a large-scale earthquake is 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) off the coast of Tekirdag, according to Erkan.
Ercan explained that “its size will be as large as 7.2 (on the Richter scale) and will turn the region towards Greece.”
Turkey is among the most seismically active regions in the world, located on several active fault lines, the most destructive of which is the North Anatolian Fault (NAF), the meeting point of the Anatolian and Eurasian tectonic plates.
Ercan says a 7.2-magnitude earthquake will cause a fault line extending from the Buyukcekmece region on the European side from Istanbul to the Saros Gulf in the west and “all the way to Thessaloniki in Greece”.
For Erkan, this, along with another possible epicenter in Istanbul, constitutes the long-awaited “great earthquake” to hit the city. Experts have warned for years that the city may once again be shaken by an earthquake of magnitude higher than 7.0.
“Al Kabeer is actually a compound of two – in Istanbul and Kerdag. For Istanbul, it will be somewhere around 25 kilometers south of the Kucukcekmece district and could lead to a shift towards the Aegean Sea. This will be between strengths of 6.3 and 6.7,” he said, adding Both earthquakes would be devastating, although the tremors at Tekirdag would be greater in magnitude.
However, he warned that the Istanbul earthquake would be more dangerous, as the city had a higher population density, unlike Tekirdag where the population is spread over a wider area.
A report commissioned by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) and published a few months ago, said that a 7.5-magnitude earthquake would cause material damage and casualties in each of the city’s 39 districts that span across Asian and European continents.
Although the Asian side is somewhat safer due to its distance from fault lines, hundreds of buildings are still collapsing, according to the report.
Based on simulations of earthquakes, the report highlights the need to reinforce and rebuild old buildings that may not withstand a strong earthquake or its aftershocks.
Avcilar, Fatih, Zeytinburnu, Eisenler, Kucukcekmece, Tuzla and Beylikduzu regions are most at risk of massive damage and losses.
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