USGS / Screenshot by NPR
Emergency teams in Turkey and Greece are working to help people trapped by a powerful earthquake that struck off a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea on Friday. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake has a magnitude of 7.0.
The earthquake’s worst impact was being reported in nearby Turkey, where officials said four people were dead and at least 12 buildings were destroyed or damaged in the city of Izmir.
One person died from drowning, according to Turkey’s Emergency and Disaster Management Agency. At least 152 people were injured, the agency said, adding that search and rescue teams are still trying to reach anyone who may be trapped or injured.
Strong earthquakes occurred in the north of Néon Karlovásion, a town on the Greek island of Samos. At least eight people were injured there, according to Greek state broadcaster ERT. But it also reported that two students were injured when a wall collapsed on them along a narrow street – and while the couple’s condition has not been confirmed, they fear death.
The earthquake collapsed old buildings on the island; It also caused a seawater wall to inundate shops and wash away cars, ERT reports.
The earthquake rocked a large portion of western Turkey – especially Izmir, where hundreds of thousands of people lived about 40 miles from the epicenter of the quake.
According to USGS, Friday’s earthquake was an “inner event”, due to the African plate grinding along the Eurasian tectonic plate. The quake, which hit about 155 miles north of the main boundary between the plates, is largely in line with previous temblors in the area, the agency said.
“Although often plotted as points on maps, earthquakes of this size are better described than sliding through a larger fault zone,” USGS said. It adds that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake will typically have an error area of 50 x 20 km – about 31 x 12 miles.
Each year, the African plate moves north about 10 millimeters (about 0.40 inches), the agency said.