Turkey’s map of active faults must be updated, says academic

Turkey’s map of active faults must be updated, says academic

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Turkey’s map of active faults must be updated to add new fault lines that triggered recent earthquakes, an expert has said.

“There are 485 fault lines officially known in Turkey. But in the last 10 years, more than 100 new faults formed,” said Hasan Sözbilir, the head of the Earthquake Research and Training Center at Dokuz Eylül University, stressing the last map was drawn in 2011.

An earthquake that shook the western province of Manisa’s Akhisar district on Jan. 22 was the first of a chain of minor quakes that followed it for the next five months.

The Akhisar-centered earthquake generated around 6,000 aftershocks and caused a magnitude-5.5 quake in Gölmarmara, another district of Manisa, on June 26.

All these tremors triggered other minor quakes, at most with a magnitude of 3.7, in Manisa since July 1.

“We have Sancaklıkayadibi and Sancaklıbozkoy fault lines at the east end of the Manisa fault. If these two fault lines, with a total length of 10 kilometers, completely break, we will experience a magnitude-6.0 quake in the region,” said Sözbilir, stressing none of these were mentioned in the outdated map.

These maps should be updated once a decade and academics should make calculations in line with the new information, according to Sözbilir, who called on the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), an affiliate of the Interior Ministry, to work on the pressing issue.

“AFAD and universities should work together. Fifty officials can be tasked with drawing these new faults and updating the map.”

Turkey sits on several active fault lines. At least 41 people died in an earthquake that rattled the country’s east on Jan. 24 this year, with its epicenter in the province of Elazığ. Several minor tremors followed it in the country’s west to date, with no casualties.

But Turkish citizens are traumatized with the memories of a magnitude-7.4 earthquake that rattled the country’s northwest in 1999, which killed 18,000 people. The earthquake’s epicenter was Gölcük district, some 75 kilometers from Istanbul. Experts have warned a destructive earthquake will most likely happen in the same area in the near future.

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