Devastating Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing Thousands

On the morning of February 6, 2023, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria, followed by a second powerful 7.5 magnitude tremor only hours later.[0] Thousands of people have been killed or injured due to the two quakes and over 120 aftershocks that have caused great devastation in Turkey and Syria.[1] Seismic events of a deadly nature were perceptible in countries such as Lebanon and Israel, which were located at a distance[1]

The epicentre of the first earthquake was close to Gaziantep, resulting in damage to the Roman-era castle that had been standing there for centuries. More than 2,000 dead in Turkey and Syria after major earthquakes have been reported, with the death toll expected to rise as the search for survivors continues in harsh winter conditions.[2] The earthquake has also badly damaged Gaziantep Castle, a historic site and tourist attraction in southeastern Turkey, with some of the bastions in the east, south and southeast parts of the castle being destroyed.

This is the worst seismic event for Turkey since 1939, when an earthquake killed over 32,000 people and injured more than 100,000.[3] Turkey is no stranger to earthquakes, with two major fault lines crossing the country and triggering shocks on a regular basis.[4] According to the US Geological Survey, Turkey experienced more than 60 earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 2.5 in the past day, with more than 70 quakes of magnitude 6.5 or higher recorded in the region since 1900.[5] The most recent earthquake before this one was in November 2020, when a magnitude 5.9 quake hit the country.

Search and rescue operations are still underway across the region to reach survivors trapped in the rubble.[6] Dramatic video has captured the moment a building collapsed in southeastern Turkey following the deadly 7.8-magnitude earthquake.[7] Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described Monday as the worst disaster for the country since 1939.[0] People around the world are watching as rescue teams search for survivors in the ruins of collapsed buildings in the city of Aleppo in northern Syria.[2]

The earthquake has been devastating for the region, but the magnitude of the damage could have been much greater without the advanced earthquake warning systems in place. The seismic waves were picked up by sensors around the world, including places as far away as the UK, giving people in the area time to find safety.[8]

It is clear that the effects of this earthquake will be felt for some time to come.

0. “What caused Monday's major earthquake in Turkey? Here's what we know” NPR, 7 Feb. 2023,

1. “Responding to Earthquake in Turkey” Samaritan's Purse, 6 Feb. 2023,

2. “Devastating Earthquake Hits Syria and Turkey” UNICEF USA, 6 Feb. 2023,

3. “Turkey earthquake: The eyewitnesses who captured the quake on social media” BBC, 6 Feb. 2023,

4. “Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: What we know — and don’t know — about earthquakes.”, 6 Feb. 2023,

5. “How Turkey's Anatolian Fault System Causes Devastating Earthquakes” The New York Times, 7 Feb. 2023,

6. “Syria and Turkey earthquake: what we know so far” The Guardian, 6 Feb. 2023,

7. “Ancient castle used by Romans and Byzantines destroyed in Turkey earthquake” CNN, 6 Feb. 2023,

8. “Turkey-Syria earthquake: a seismologist explains what has happened” The Conversation Indonesia, 6 Feb. 2023,