CNN  — 

Thousands of people in Turkey and Syria have been killed and thousands more were injured after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey’s Gaziantep province near the Syrian border early Monday.

The earthquake is the strongest to hit Turkey since 1939, when a quake of the same magnitude killed more than 30,000 people. Tremors from Monday’s earthquake and its aftershocks have been recorded across the region so far, including in Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and Jordan.

A magnitude 6.7 aftershock followed 11 minutes after the first earthquake, as well as a 7.5 aftershock several hours later at 1:24 p.m. local time, according to the US Geological Survey. The magnitude 7.5 aftershock is the strongest of more than 100 aftershocks that have been recorded within 36 hours of the initial earthquake.

Tremors from the magnitude 7.5 aftershock were recorded throughout Turkey and Syria, as well as in parts of Iraq.

Turkey is located at the intersection of four tectonic plates and that makes it an earthquake-prone country. The Arabian plate is moving an estimated 20mm per year towards the Anatolian plate, and this is what caused this week’s earthquake along the East Anatolian fault line in the south of the country. A relatively shallow depth contributed to the intensity of the shaking.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the death toll in the 1939 earthquake in Turkey, which claimed the lives of more than 30,000 people.