Monday, 9 June 2014

Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake off the coast of Hatay Province, southeast Turkey.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km, about 8 km offshore of the city of İskenderun in Hatay Province, southeast Turkey, slightly before 6.40 am local time (slightly before 3.40 am GMT) on Monday 9 June 2014. The quake was reportedly felt across much of Hatay Province, but there are no reports of any damage or casualties.

The approximate location of the 9 June 2014 İskenderun Earthquake. Google Maps.

Most of the province of Hatay lies on the Anatolian Plate, though the eastern part of the province lies on the Arabian Plate, which is being pushed north and west by the movement of the African Plate, further to the south. This leads to a zone of tectonic activity within the province, as the plates are both pushed together, along the East Anatolian Fault, and past one-another, along the Dead Sea Transform.

This movement also leads to a zone of faulting along the northern part of Turkey, the North Anatolian Fault Zone, as the Anatolian Plate is pushed past the Eurasian Plate, which underlies the Black Sea and Crimean Peninsula  (transform faulting). This is not a simple process, as the two plates constantly stick together, then break apart as the pressure builds up, leading to Earthquakes, which can be some distance from the actual fault zone.

The northward movement of the African and Arabian Plates also causes folding and uplift in the Caucasus Mountains, which separate Georgia from Russia. Again this is not a smooth process, with the rocks sticking together, then moving sharply as the pressure builds up enough to break them appart, which can also lead to Earthquakes in the region.

Plate movements and fault zones around the Anatolian Plate. Mike Norton/Wikimedia Commons.

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