Geology professor warns of expected Istanbul quake after latest strike

Turkish geology professor Celal Şengör has warned about the long-awaited Istanbul quake which is expected to have a magnitude between 7.2 and 7.6. He made the comments after an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck Turkey's northwestern province of Düzce. “This earthquake is terribly bad news. I warn Istanbul once again. And maybe we won't even have a chance to warn anymore,” Şengör noted.

Duvar English

The devastating earthquake that's ever-feared to hit Istanbul is very close, senior geology professor Celal Şengör on Nov. 23 warned. 

Şengör’s comment came after an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 struck northwestern province of Düzce early on Nov. 23, injuring 94 people. The quake was felt in Istanbul and other provinces including northwestern Bolu, Sakarya, Kocaeli, Bursa, Bilecik and western İzmir and Kütahya provinces and the capital Ankara.

“This earthquake is terribly bad news. This earthquake is an indication that the movement of the North Anatolian fault is not fully understood by all geologists. This is the second earthquake in Düzce in 22 years. However, everyone thought that the fault line in Düzce had relieved its tension and that there would not be a serious earthquake for a long time. We saw that it is not the case,” Şengör told Fatih Altaylı from Habertürk.

“The Istanbul earthquake is pretty close. Now, the tensional stress in the fault line accumulated especially towards the West; Sakarya, Kocaeli and Istanbul provinces. I warn Istanbul once again. And maybe we may not even have a chance to warn anymore. My advice to you (Fatih) is to move from (the main centers of) Istanbul,” Şengör added.

On Aug. 17, 1999, an earthquake measuring 7.6 struck the Marmara city of İzmit, 90 km southeast of Istanbul, killing more than 17,000 people. Since then, experts have been warning that the next big earthquake should be expected to occur in the vicinity of Istanbul before 2030. Istanbul residents have subconsciously been waiting for the earthquake.

The long-awaited earthquake is expected to create massive material devastation in the city, and experts often note that the construction in the metropolis is unlikely to be prepared for the quake.

Turkey is crossed by fault lines and is prone to earthquakes. More than 500 people were killed in a 2011 quake in the eastern city of Van, while another in January this year killed 41 people in the eastern province of Elazığ.