What scientists know about shocks after another earthquake in Turkey
Another earthquake struck southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, on Monday. This time, the quake registered as a magnitude 6.3 — a magnitude lower than the initial, devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake and the magnitude 7.5 aftershock that struck the area two weeks ago on Feb. 6. More than 200 people were injured and six people were killed in the latest earthquake on Tuesday.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), a magnitude of 6.3 is still considered strong. NPR previously reported that some locals were inside buildings recovering belongings lost in the initial quake when Monday’s aftershock hit.
We wondered: What are aftershocks? How long will it take for people in Turkey and neighboring countries like Syria to piece their lives back together after the earthquake? How long? How many years?
In order to be considered an aftershock, an earthquake must both follow a “mainshock,” the largest earthquake to occur in the area, and occur before the area returns to its usual background seismicity level. A few years after an earthquake, aftershocks are common and expected. “They’re the only earthquakes we can actually predict,” Bohan says.
After an M7.8 earthquake like Feb. 6, the USGS notes that “hundreds of aftershocks are extremely common within weeks, months, or even years.”
Currently, there is no technology that can accurately predict when another aftershock will occur.
“I would love to be able to tell the people in Syria and Turkey, ‘You’re done. It’s overtime to rebuild,” says Bohan. The earthworks in particular ways and more aftershocks are likely, so they will continue to feel shaking. It’s such a traumatizing, devastating situation.”