Visual analysis: Location and evolution of the quakes in Turkey and Syria

The 7.8 magnitude tremor is the strongest recorded in the region in more than 20 years

Turkey earthquake map

Dozens of violent aftershocks are continuing to rock southeastern Turkey and northern Syria following an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale that struck early Monday and that has so far led to more than 2,300 deaths and thousands of injuries. Over 2,800 buildings have collapsed in Turkey. The epicenter - located in Turkish territory, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) southeast of the capital, Ankara, and 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Aleppo - is located in an area of high seismic activity, where the Anatolian and Arabian tectonic plates converge.

Tremors from the massive earthquake have been felt in several neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus and Jordan.

How powerful is 7.8 on the Richter scale?

The Richter scale was developed by American seismologist Charles Francis Richter in 1935. Although it has since been renamed the local magnitude scale - which does not correspond directly to the original designed by the scientist to measure quakes in southern California and is generally eschewed by science - the Richter scale remains the most common manner of referring to the reported power of earthquakes worldwide.

The scale runs from 1.0-1.9 – the weakest magnitude of earthquakes, described as Micro, and of which there are millions per year – to 9.0 and greater, the highest measurement on the scale, which occur once every 10 to 50 years.

Monday’s earthquake in Turkey and Syria measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, which classifies it as a Major earthquake, causing major damage to buildings and structures, including those that are designed to be earthquake-protected. Major earthquakes occur 10 to 20 times per year.

On the Richter scale, 8.0-8.9 signifies a Great earthquake, which causes “major damage to buildings.” A quake measuring 9.0 and above leads to “near or total destruction,” including severe damage or collapse of all buildings at the epicenter.

According to the US Geological Survey, the most powerful earthquake ever recorded was the Valdivia Earthquake in Chile in 1960, which measured 9.5 on the Richter scale.

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