Sunday, October 23, 2011

PLANETARY TREMORS: 7.3 Quake Devastates Eastern Turkey - USGS Issues Red Alert, As Aftershocks & Seismic Swarms Envelopes Area! UPDATE: 45 Buildings Collapsed, 1,000 People Estimated To Be Dead! UPDATE: 122 Aftershocks In 10 Hours With A Highest 6.0 Magnitude!


"...much destruction... buildings collapsing... many feared dead... we need urgent aid, we need medics..."

USGS Map of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Eastern Turkey.
According to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC), a magnitude 7.3 earthquake has struck Eastern Turkey at a depth of just 7.2 km (4.5 miles). The quake hit at 10:41:21 UTC, Sunday 23rd October 2011 and was located 38.628°N, 43.486°E. The epicentre was 17 km (10 miles) northeast (32°) from Van, Turkey; 117 km (72 miles) north (349°) from Hakkari, Turkey; 128 km (80 miles) southeast (163°) from Karakose (Agri), Turkey; 194 km (120 miles) southwest (207°) from Yerevan, Armenia.

The U.S. Geological Survey has registered the tremor at a magnitude of 7.2 and issued a Red Alert for the region:

Red alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. High casualties and extensive damage are probable and the disaster is likely widespread. Past red alerts have required a national or international response. Estimated economic losses are 0-4% GDP of Turkey.
- USGS.
EMSC also recorded over 30 aftershocks in the same area.

EMSC earthquake list illustrating the aftershocks in Turkey.
EMSC earthquake seismicity for the region.

Reports are coming out of damage to buildings, the crushing of vehicles and people being injured or trapped under debris.
A powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey Sunday, collapsing at least two buildings in the center of eastern city of Van, the mayor said. "Two buildings collapsed in Van, but the telephone system is jammed due to panic and we can't assess the entire damage immediately," Bekir Kaya, the mayor of Van, told NTV television. "There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed, there is too much destruction," said Zulfikar Arapoglu, the mayor for the town of Ercis told NTV television. "We need urgent aid, we need medics," he added. The state-run Anatolia news agency said rescue workers were trying to reach people believed to be trapped under the wreckage of a seven-story building in Van, close to the Iranian border. The earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 struck eastern Turkey at 1:41 p.m. (1041 GMT; 6:41 a.m. EDT), the U.S. Geological Survey said. It said the quake had a depth of 7.2 kilometers (4.5 miles), which is shallow and could potentially cause more damage. Turkey's Kandilli observatory gave it a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 but put its depth at 5 kilometers. Several aftershocks as strong as magnitude 5.5 followed, the observatory said. - AP.
A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hit near Van in southeastern Turkey on Sunday, Turkey's Kandilli Observatory and Research Institute said, and state-run media reported some buildings had collapsed and 50 people had been injured. The institute said the earthquake struck at 1041 GMT (6:41 a.m. EDT) and was 5 km (3 miles) deep. The U.S. Geological Survey earlier reported that the magnitude was 7.6. Some buildings collapsed and emergency teams were trying to rescue people believed to be trapped in a building in Van, near the Iranian border, state-run news agency Anatolian said. It said 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, but did not give details on how serious their injuries were. Television pictures showed damaged buildings and vehicles, crushed under falling masonry, and panicked residents wandering in the streets. Turkish media said phone lines and electricity had been cut off. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will head to Van to see the damage, media reported. Aftershocks continued after the initial quake, whose epicenter was at the village of Tabanli, north of Van city, the agency said. In Hakkari, a town around 100 km (60 miles) south of the city of Van in southeastern Turkey, a building could be felt swaying for around 10 seconds during the quake. There was no immediate sign of any casualties or damage in Hakkari, around two and half hours drive through the mountains from Van, around 20 km from the epicenter. Major geological faultlines cross Turkey and small earthquakes are a near daily occurrence. Two large quakes in 1999 killed more than 20,000 people in northwest Turkey. Two people were killed and 79 injured in May when an earthquake shook Simav in northwest Turkey. - Reuters.
A powerful earthquake struck eastern Turkey Sunday, collapsing at least two buildings in the center of eastern city of Van, the mayor said. Television footage showed damaged buildings and vehicles, crushed under falling masonry, and panicked residents wandering the streets. "Two buildings collapsed in Van, but the telephone system is jammed due to panic and we can't assess the entire damage immediately," Bekir Kaya, the mayor of Van, told NTV television. 'Much destruction.' The state-run Anatolia news agency said rescue workers were trying to reach people believed to be trapped under the wreckage of a seven-story building in Van, close to the Iranian border. "There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed, there is too much destruction," said Zulfikar Arapoglu, the mayor for the town of Ercis told NTV television. "We need urgent aid, we need medics," he added. Anatolia said 50 injured people had been taken to hospital in Van, but did not give details on how serious their injuries were. Turkish media said electricity had been cut off. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was reportedly heading to Van to see the damage. Erdogan's office later said the quake had caused loss of life, Anatolia reported. However, an official death toll was not immediately released. NTV said Van's airport was damaged and planes were being diverted to neighboring cities. - MSNBC.
WATCH: Visual reports of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake.




UPDATE: 45 Buildings Collapsed, 1,000 People Estimated To Be Dead!

A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey Sunday, collapsing about 45 buildings according to the deputy prime minister. Only one death was immediately confirmed, but scientists estimated that up to 1,000 people could have been killed. The worst damage was caused to the town of Ercis, in the mountainous eastern province of Van, close to the Iranian border. The city of Van also suffered substantial damage. “Around 10 buildings have collapsed in the city of Van and around 25 or 30 have collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory,” Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said. Atalay said authorities had no information yet on remote villages, adding that the governor was now touring the region by helicopter to assess damage. The quake’s epicenter was in the village of Tabanli. Authorities did not provide a casualty figure but the Kandilli observatory, Turkey’s main seismography center, said the quake was capable of killing many more people. “We are estimating a death toll between 500 and 1,000,” Mustafa Erdik, head of the Kandilli observatory, told a televised news conference. His estimate was based on the structure of the housing in the area and the strength of the quake. The Turkish Red Crescent said its rescuers pulled several injured people out of the collapsed dormitory in Ercis, which sits on a geological fault line. In Van, a bustling city with many apartment buildings, at least 50 people were treated in the courtyard of the state hospital, the state-run Anatolia news agency said. “There are so many dead. Several buildings have collapsed. There is too much destruction,” Zulfikar Arapoglu, the mayor of Ercis, told NTV television. “We need urgent aid. We need medics.” Serious damage and casualties were also reported in the district of Celebibag, near Ercis. “There are many people under the rubble,” Veysel Keser, mayor of Celebibag, told NTV. “People are in agony, we can hear their screams for help. We need urgent help. It’s a great disaster,” he said. “Many buildings have collapsed, student dormitories, hotels and gas stations have collapsed.” Some houses also collapsed in the province of Bitlis, where at least one person, an 8-year-old girl was killed, authorities said. The quake also toppled the minarets of two mosques in the nearby province of Mus, reports said. NTV said Van’s airport was damaged and planes were being diverted to neighboring cities. Terrified residents spilled into the streets in panic as rescue workers and residents using their bare hands and shovels struggled to find people believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings, television footage showed.
- Washington Post.
WATCH: Devastation as earthquake hits Turkey.

 

UPDATE: 122 Aftershocks In 10 Hours With A Highest 6.0 Magnitude!

According to the latest information from the EMSC, 122 earthquakes have hit the eastern Turkey in the past 10 hours. The magnitude 7.3 that hit 16km (9 miles) northeast of Van, Turkey has now been classified as the most powerful to hit the country in more than a decade. Several minutes ago, the highest afterschock was recorded, when a magnitude 6.0 tremor struck at 20:45:37 UTC. This quake was located at 38.555°N, 43.161°E with an epicentre of 20 km (12 miles) northwest of Van, Turkey; 120 km (74 miles) northwest of Hakkari, Turkey; 129 km (80 miles) S of Agri (Karakose), Turkey; and 904 km (561 miles) east of Ankara, Turkey.

The latest USGS and EMSC earthquake list.
At the time of writing, the Washington Post is reporting that at least 88 people were killed from this morning's quake.
Cries of panic and horror filled the air as a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, killing at least 88 people as buildings pancaked and crumpled into rubble. Tens of thousands fled into the streets running, screaming or trying to reach relatives on cell phones as apartment and office buildings cracked or collapsed. As the full extent of the damage became clear, survivors dug in with shovels or even their bare hands, desperately trying to rescue the trapped and the injured. “My wife and child are inside! My 4-month-old baby is inside!” CNN-Turk television showed one young man sobbing outside a collapsed building in Van, the provincial capital. The hardest hit area was Ercis, an eastern city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border, which lies on one of Turkey’s most earthquake-prone zones. The bustling city of Van, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) to the south, also sustained substantial damage. Highways in the area caved in and Van’s airport was damaged, forcing flights to be diverted. TRT television reported that 59 people were killed and 150 injured in Ercis, 25 others died in Van and four people, including a child, died in the nearby province of Bitlis. It said at least nine people were pulled out of debris alive. Up to 80 buildings collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory, and 10 buildings collapsed in Van, the Turkish Red Crescent said. Some highways also caved in. Authorities advised people to stay away from any damaged homes, warning they could collapse in the aftershocks. U.S. scientists recorded over 100 aftershocks in eastern Turkey within ten hours of the quake, including one with a magnitude of 6.0. Residents in Van and Ercis lit camp fires, preparing to spend the night outdoors while the Red Crescent began setting up tents in a stadium. Others fled to seek shelter with relatives in nearby villages.
WATCH: The search for survivors continue in Turkey.


EXTREME WEATHER: Severe Flooding Shuts Down Roman Collosseum & Other Monuments - The Severest Storm To Hit Rome Since 1953?!


“...unheard of and extraordinary...”


The most severe storm to hit Rome since 1953 forced the closure of the capital’s most famous ancient monuments, including the Colosseum.

Severe flooding led to tourists being shut out of the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheatre as well as the nearby Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and the ancient Roman port of Ostia, west of the capital. The Colosseum was particularly badly affected, with water pouring into the underground tunnels and galleries where gladiators and wild animals once waited before being hoisted into the ancient arena on wooden lifts for staged fights. At one point the tunnels, which were only recently opened to the public, were submerged to a depth of 15ft, officials said.

The severity of the flooding of the amphitheatre was “unheard of and extraordinary”, said Francesco Giro, a senior heritage official. He said it evoked the ancient Roman practise of inundating the Colosseum with water in order to stage mock naval battles between gladiators and slaves. “Following the exceptional weather that hit the capital, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Palatine, the Baths of Caracalla and the excavations at Ostia are closed to the public,” Rome’s archeological department said in a statement. It was not clear when the sites, which attract millions of visitors a year, would be reopened. Engineers carried out checks to make sure none of the structures had been seriously weakened.

The torrential rain also brought down two large pine trees on the Appian Way, the ancient Roman road, lined with mausoleums and catacombs, which led from the imperial capital to the Adriatic coast. The storm caused chaos to the city when it struck on Thursday morning, with public transport severely disrupted and cars submerged in flooded streets. Around 120mm of rain fell in just three hours, bringing Rome to a standstill, and there were around 7,000 lightning strikes. The Circus Maximus, where Roman chariots once raced, was so extensively flooded that a man was photographed paddling a kayak across it. Gianni Alemanno, Rome’s mayor, declared a state of emergency and said the city had not known such a dramatic storm since 1953. The thunderstorms left one person dead – a 32-year-old Sri Lankan immigrant who drowned after being trapped in a flooded basement apartment. - Telegraph.