Earthquake shakes Turkey’s northwest

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck Turkey’s northwestern province of Düzce on Wednesday, no causality was reported.

According to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the quake which happened at about 3:40pm local time, occurred at a depth of 18.02 kilometers below the surface and shook the central district of the province.

The earthquake was also felt in nearby urban areas such as Kocaeli, Sakarya, Bolu and Bilecik, in addition to Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city.

Düzce Mayor, Faruk Özlü confirmed no loss of life due to the earthquake. Özlü also asked people not to panic.

Düzce, a province of some 390,000 people on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, was hit by a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 measuring on the Richter scale in 1999 that killed 845 people.

The disaster came three months after a larger earthquake in nearby Kocaeli province that killed tens of thousands of people.

Most of Turkey is located on the Anatolian tectonic plate, which sits between two major plates, the Eurasian and African, and a minor one, the Arabian. As the larger African and Arabian plates shift Turkey is being literally squeezed, while the Eurasian plate impedes any northward movement. Thus, Turkey sits on several fault lines.

Turkey, an earthquake-prone country sits atop one of the most seismically active spots in the world, with the North Anatolian Fault and neighboring faults covering most of the country.

Last year alone, AFAD recorded more than 33,000 earthquakes, including 322 with a recorded magnitude of 4.0 and higher. In fact, last year's three deadliest earthquakes all took place in or near Turkey. Forty-one people were killed in eastern Elazığ in January and a month later 10 died in southeastern Van. In October, a magnitude 6.6 tremor struck western Izmir, killing 117 people, while two more died on the Greek island of Samos.

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