Damaging earthquake strikes Turkey

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People in Turkey are used to feeling the effects of random earthquakes almost daily, but a tremor which hit the country on Monday off the coast of western Turkey was extreme, according to witnesses. It’s been reported to have hit with a magnitude of at least 6.0, at a depth of approximately 10 km.

In fact, people reported feeling the quake in the cities of Izmir and as far away as Athens in Greece, according to the European Earthquake monitor, EMSC. The earthquake’s epicenter was located just off of the western coast of Turkey and between the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios.

Witnesses said that “everyone ran outside” fearing the worst. According to a dentist in Izmir’s Karsiyaka district, “The trembling was really bad. Everything in my clinic started shaking wildly, we all ran outside with the patients.”

There have been no immediate reports of injuries in either Turkey or Greece, although Greek television stations did report minor landslides and structural damage in the town of Plomari on the Greek island of Lesbos.

According to one witness, “We are very used to earthquakes as people of Izmir but this one was different. I thought to myself that this time we were going to die.”

“We will be seeing the aftershocks of this in the coming hours, days and weeks,” predicted the head of Turkey’s Kandilli Observatory, adding that the aftershocks could reach magnitudes of up to 5.5.

Major geological fault lines cross Turkey, making it prone to earthquakes. In October 2011 in the eastern province of Van, more than 600 people were killed after a 7.2 magnitude quake hit and continued to cause huge aftershocks. Two major earthquakes in 1999 killed approximately 2 0,000 people in the densely-populated northwest.

The strength of Monday’s earthquake has been measured from 6.1 to 6.3 by different agencies.

Since the first big hit, three aftershocks have been felt in the area, with the first one taking place 10 minutes after the initial quake. It was measured at a 4.9.

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