Mw 7.2 EASTERN TURKEY on October 23rd 2011 at 10:41 UTC

Last update: 23 April 2012 at 11:46 UTC

Earthquake detailsTectonic settingsAftershocks locations
Were you there ?  | Source mechanism | Epicenter location


Earthquake details

An event of magnitude Mw 7.2 occurred on 2011/10/23 at 10:41:22.0 UTC close to the city of Van in Eastern Turkey. The earthquake took place at shallow depth (10km) on the shore of lake Van. It has been largely felt in Turkey and in the neighbouring countries. More than 600 people died. Around 2000 buildings collapsed and 1350 people have been injured according to the latest reports. The city of Ercis is particularly affected. Rescue teams struggled to help the population and to extract victims from the rubbles. A long serie of aftershocks followed the main quake. More information on the main shock is available here.

On November 9th at 19:23 UTC, a strong 5.7-magnitude earthquake rocked again eastern Turkey, killing at least 7 people and toppled 25 buildings in the city of Van. Rescue workers had managed to pull out 25 survivors from the rubble of three collapsed buildings, including a top hotel where journalists and foreign aid workers were staying, authorities said Thursday. This earthquake is located 40 km south of the M7.2 epicenter that struck this region on October 23rd.

A video posted by a witness. Video of the security camera in Van, Turkey (30 Km of the epicenter) taken during the shake.


Earthquake reports


Tectonic settings

The country lies in a seismically active region. The Arabian plate moves northward relative to Eurasia leads to lateral motion of the
Anatolian block to the west and the Northeast Anatolian block to the east. The movements are centered along the active fault zones, mainly the North Anatolian Fault, East Anatolian Fault.

The earthquake took place east of the North and East Anatolian faults, on the Bitlis suture zone.


In 2003, an earthquake of magnitude 6.6 occurred on May 1st in Bingol 250km west of Van. On January 27th another earthquake of magnitude 6.1 affected Pülümür, also west of Van.

The main event occurring in the vicinity of the Lake took place in November 1976 in Caldiran, about 70km away from Van with a magnitude of 6.3. This seismic event and the severe weather conditions raised the death toll to 3,900 and more than 9,000 buildings were damaged.


Scheme of the Eurasian-Arabic plate collision (USGS)


















Aftershocks locations

A long serie of aftershocks has followed the main quake. In 72 hours, 7 events of magnitude larger than 5 occurred and more than 570 aftershocks of magnitude larger than 3 were recorded.

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 Download  Google Earth/KML file  of afterschocks locations (Automatic update - requires an internet connexion)

Aftershocks time distribution

Aftershocks time distribution


  Were you there ?

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The results of the questionnaires are used to compute the intensities, which quantifies the effects of an earthquake. A macroseismic intensity map is then computed (Intensities are expressed in EMS-98 scale)
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Macroseismic map based on eye-witness reports


Pictures sent by a eye-witness that show damage in the city of Van 





















Further Information

 USGS event web page

 Iris Teachable moment presentation

IPGP dedicated page

Bogazici University


Source mechanism


focal mechanism and source time function (M. Vallée, GéoAzur, France)


Moment tensor solutions


Source mechanism from teleseismic waveform inversion

(O. Tan, Tubitak, Turkey)

Hypothesis of a multiple-point source solution for the Van earthquake based on strong motion data

(J. Zahradnik and E. Sokos, CUNI, Prague, Czech Republic and University of Patras, Greece)



Epicenter location

Main Shock Epicenter Location

Past Regional Seismicity as from the ISC catalogue

(1964-1997) and EMSC catalogues (1998-today)