2020 Elazığ earthquake

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2020 Elazığ earthquake
2020 Elazığ earthquake is located in Turkey
2020 Elazığ earthquake
UTC time2020-01-24 17:55:14
ISC event617204417
Local date24 January 2020 (2020-01-24)
Local time20:55 TRT (UTC+3:00)
Duration40 seconds
Magnitude6.7 Mw[1]
Depth10.0 km (6 mi)
Epicentre38°23′24″N 39°04′52″E / 38.390°N 39.081°E / 38.390; 39.081Coordinates: 38°23′24″N 39°04′52″E / 38.390°N 39.081°E / 38.390; 39.081
FaultEast Anatolian Fault
Max. intensityVIII (Severe)
17 with a Mw 4.0 or greater
Largest: Mw 5.1 at 16:30 UTC, 25 January 2020
Casualties41 fatalities, 1,600+ injuries
Satellite view of the Elazığ region.

The 2020 Elazığ earthquake occurred at 20:55 local time (17:55 UTC) on 24 January in Turkey.[1] The magnitude of the earthquake was determined to be 6.7 Mw. The earthquake's epicentre was close to the town of Sivrice in Elazığ Province and felt in the neighbouring provinces of Diyarbakır, Malatya and Adıyaman, and the neighbouring countries of Armenia, Syria and Iran.[2] Kandilli Observatory reported the magnitude of the earthquake as 6.5 Mw .[3] A total of 41 people were killed and more than 1,600 were injured.[4]

Tectonic setting[edit]

Most of Turkey lies on the Anatolian Plate, which is being forced westwards by the collision between the Arabian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. This westward movement is accommodated by two large strike-slip fault zones, the west-east trending right lateral North Anatolian Fault in the north of the country and the SW-NE trending left lateral East Anatolian Fault towards the south-east. Movement on these two faults has been responsible for many large and damaging earthquakes historically. The most recent major earthquakes on the East Anatolian Fault were the 2003 Bingöl earthquake and the 2010 Elâzığ earthquake.[1]


Map of the Anatolian Plate, featuring the East Anatolian Fault.
Map of Elazığ province and surrounds, showing location and seismic intensity of quake. Star marks epicenter.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.7 Mw  and a depth of 11.9 kilometres (7.4 mi) according to ANSS[1] and 6.5 Mw  and a depth of 5.0 kilometres (3.1 mi) according to the Kandilli Observatory.[3] The duration of the earthquake was reported as 40 seconds.[5] The observed focal mechanism and the epicentral location are consistent with the earthquake being caused by movement on the East Anatolian Fault.[1] Many aftershocks were detected following the earthquake,[6][2][7] among which 17 were reported to be of magnitude 4.0 or greater[8] with the largest being a 5.1 Mw  event at 16:30 UTC on 25 January.[9]

The earthquake's epicentre was close to the town of Sivrice, 550 kilometres (340 mi) east of the Turkish capital Ankara. The town has 4,000 inhabitants, lying within an overall thinly populated region, and is adjacent to Lake Hazar.[2]


There was serious damage within 40 km of the epicentre, including the cities of Elâzığ and Malatya. 19 towns and over 200 villages were also seriously impacted. Just in the two cities, 87 multistory buildings collapsed with another 1,287 being so damaged that they will have to be demolished. Thousands of other buildings outside the cities were seriously affected. All buildings in 25 of the villages are reported to be destroyed.[10]

A total of 41 people were confirmed dead, the majority of whom were in Elazığ and the rest in Malatya.[4] At least 1,607 people were reported to be injured, mostly within Elaziğ province. 39 people were rescued from collapsed buildings. The earthquake interrupted a live broadcast of the local Edessa television channel.[5] Dozens of wounded casualties were reported in the adjacent provinces of Adıyaman, Kahramanmaraş, Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa and Batman. A prison in Adıyaman was damaged during the earthquake and subsequently evacuated.[7] On 25 January, officials stated that more than 20 people are still trapped, with the number of people rescued reaching 42 so far, according to the BBC.[2] An elderly woman was rescued after being trapped for 19 hours under the rubble.[5] Thousands were temporarily housed in schools and sport centres across the region.[6] Turkey's Interior Minister added that at least 15,000 people are sleeping in gymnasiums and schools, and more than 5,000 tents have been installed for the victims displaced by the earthquake.[11] According to The Guardian, hundreds of people waited greatly concerned behind police barriers, with the hope of finding their missing relatives.[6]

The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority deployed 400 search and rescue teams to the affected regions alongside relief supplies, totalling 3,699 personnel.[5] The Turkish Red Crescent also mobilized hundreds of its personnel with emergency supplies to the region. Turkish Airlines announced additional flights to Elazığ from Ankara and Istanbul to assist in transporting aid workers.[6] Turkey’s military are also at the ready to assist, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu stated.[12] Telecom companies in the affected regions announced free access to internet and telephone services for residents.[7] Rescue workers and survivors had to cope with night time temperatures dropping to −8 °C (18 °F). Turkish president Recep Erdoğan cancelled a scheduled attendance at the Foreign Economic Relations Board and visited the region on 25 January 2020 where he attended the funerals of a mother and son who died in the earthquake.[2][7] After the funeral, Erdoğan was said to have visited hospitals where the victims of the quake were admitted, as well as locations of collapsed buildings.[13] President Erdoğan stated earlier on Saturday, that the ministers of Interior, Health and Environment have been sent to areas affected by the quake, according to CNN.[5] Furthermore, the Turkish president has assured that steel-framed houses will be built for the victims who lost their homes in the quake.[14]

On Sunday, as the rescue teams began winding down their rescue operation, a mother and her young child were said to have been removed from beneath a collapsed building, according to The Guardian. They were believed to have been trapped under the building for 28 hours.[15][16] During a news conference on Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that so far at least 45 people have been rescued from the rubble.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e USGS.com (24 January 2020). "M 6.7 - 9km NNE of Doganyol, Turkey". United States Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Turkey earthquake: At least 29 dead as buildings collapse". BBC World. 24 January 2020. Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b "24 Ocak Sivrice-Elaziğ Depremi". Kandilli Observatory (in Turkish). 25 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Death toll from earthquake in Turkey rises to 41". Anadolu Agency. 27 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e Sariyuce, Isil; Alkhshali, Hamdi; Vera, Amir (25 January 2020). "At least 22 dead, more than 1,000 injured in Turkey earthquake". CNN. Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d McKernan, Bethan (25 January 2020). "Turkey earthquake: death toll rises as search for survivors continues". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d "Massive quake of magnitude 6.5 rocks Turkey's Elazığ". Daily Sabah. 24 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  8. ^ ANSS. "search results". Archived from the original on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  9. ^ ANSS. "Elazığ 2020 : M 5.1 - 8km ENE of Doganyol, Turkey". Comprehensive Catalog. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 25 January 2020
  10. ^ International Blue Crescent (27 January 2020). "Turkey Earthquake victims in need of Emergency Response" (PDF). Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  11. ^ Williams, Sara Elizabeth (26 January 2020). "Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan hits back at criticism of earthquake readiness as death toll reaches 35". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Powerful earthquake strikes eastern Turkey". DW. Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  13. ^ "29 dead, 1,466 injured as massive quake of magnitude 6.8 rocks Turkey's Elazığ". Dialy Sabah. 24 January 2020. Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Turkey earthquake: Rescue efforts near end as death toll rises". BBC News. 26 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Child found alive as Turkey earthquake rescue winds down". The Guardian. 26 January 2020. Archived from the original on 27 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Turkish Teams Hunt for Quake Survivors as Death Toll Hits 38". The New York Times. Associated Press. 26 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Turkish death toll hits 38 as teams hunt for earthquake survivors". Los Angeles Times. 26 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.

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