Responding to reports of a 7.5 magnitude aftershock following the first quake in southern Turkey this morning, CNN’s meteorologist and severe weather expert Chad Myers explained why the aftershocks have been so severe.
The 7.5 aftershock was “an earthquake in itself,” Myers told CNN's This Morning. “It would have been the strongest earthquake since 1999 in the region.”
We always talk about the epicenter, but in this case we should talk about the epi-line.
Two massive tectonic plates – the Arabian and the Eurasian – meet underneath Turkey’s southeastern provinces. Along this fault line, “about 100 miles from one side to the other, the earth slipped,” said Myers.
Seismologists refer to this event as a “strike slip” – “where the plates are touching, and all of a sudden they slide sideways,” said Myers.
This is unlike the Ring of Fire, which runs along the west coast of the United States. In this zone, earthquakes and tsunamis are often caused by subduction – where one plate slides below another.
But in a “strike slip,” the plates move horizontally, rather than vertically.
“Why that matters is because the buildings don’t want to go back and forth. And then the secondary waves begin to go back and forth as well,” said Myers.
Because of the nature of this seismic event, aftershocks could last "for weeks and months," according to CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis.