A 7.2-magnitude earthquake was one of a dozen small to moderate to large earthquakes that struck eastern Turkey this weekend (October 22-23, 2011).
According to the Associated Press, the large earthquake caused buildings to collapse and caused widespread panic throughout the region. A brief statement from the national disaster body, which is based in the Turkish prime minister’s office, said:
There is serious human and material loss.
The most powerful of these earthquakes – the 7.2-magnitude quake – struck on Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 10:41:21 UTC (5:41 a.m. CDT). It was early afternoon near the epicenter at that time.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS):
Location 38.628°N, 43.486°E
Depth 20 km (12.4 miles) set by location program
Region EASTERN TURKEY
16 km (9 miles) NNE of Van, Turkey
118 km (73 miles) N of Hakkari, Turkey
127 km (78 miles) SSE of Agri (Karakose), Turkey
929 km (577 miles) E of ANKARA, Turkey
According to AP, Turkey’s state-run TRT television reported that 59 people were killed and 150 injured in the eastern town of Ercis, and 15 others died in the provincial center of Van. Another person died in the nearby province of Bitlis.
Officials warned, however, that they were struggling to assess the full extent of the damage and that the death toll could rise.
There have been at least two strong aftershocks (both 5.6-magnitude) so far.
The image below is from the New York Times, via Associated Press.
Bottom line: Eastern Turkey suffered a 7.2 earthquake earlier today (October 23, 2011). So far, a total of 75 people have been reported killed, and the death toll could rise.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.