Understanding the Simav / Kütahya May 19 earthquake (Turkey)

Last update: May 21, 2011 at 4:30 pm by By

As always with deadly earthquakes, Earthquake-Report.com tries to explain what really happened, so that people from the area as well as the international community can understand what causes these cruel events.
We call upon our Turkish readers to translate our English text into Turkish. The translation can be send by the form below.
Read also our in-depth article on this earthquake. Click here

Turkey is a tectonically active region that experiences frequent destructive earthquakes. The shock of May 19, 2011, occurred in a broad area that is characterized by north-south tectonic extension, with earthquakes being produced by normal-faulting or strike-slip faulting.

The yellow to Orange part of the map are the hardest hit. Simav was luckily in the yellow zone (which means that the city itself received not a direct hit).

Preliminary analysis of seismographic data imply that the earthquake occurred as the result of slip on a normal fault that trends approximately east-west.

The epicenter is 40 km west of the epicenter of the magnitude 6.9 Gediz earthquake of March, 1970, which killed over 1000 people, and which also occurred as the result of normal-faulting.

Map historic massive destructive earthquakes in Turkey

Explanation of a Normal Fault
A geologic fault in which the hanging wall has moved downward relative to the footwall. Normal faults occur where two blocks of rock are pulled apart, as by tension. Although most active normal faults can be shown to dip at angles steeper than 50 degrees, there are examples of very low-angle normal faults.


Part of the text and pictures : courtesy USGS

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