February 6, 2023

"A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and Syria early Monday, toppling hundreds of buildings and killing more than 1,300 people. "

"Hundreds were still believed to be trapped under rubble, and the toll was expected to rise as rescue workers searched mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area. On both sides of the border, residents jolted out of sleep by the pre-dawn quake rushed outside on a cold, rainy and snowy night. Buildings were reduce to piles of pancaked floors, while major aftershocks, some nearly as strong as the first, continued.... It struck a region that has been shaped on both sides of the border by more than a decade of civil war in Syria. On the Syrian side, the swath affected is divided between government-held territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces.... 'There are so many other people who are also trapped,” [Huseyin Yayman, a legislator from Turkey’s Hatay province]. 'There are so many buildings that have been damaged. People are on the streets. It’s raining, it’s winter.'"

 AP reports.


tim in vermont said...

I hope that our boys, who are guarding the oil and grain we have been stealing from Syria, as part of our regime-change war against Assad that Obama started, are all OK.

tim in vermont said...

Earthquake in Buffalo, NY, too.


tim in vermont said...

Maybe the US and EU could lift our sanctions on Syria, which were put in place because Syria was doing the exact same thing that Ukraine has been doing since the coup in 2014, trying to assert sovereign control over its borders, which was disrupted by the Iraq War. Except that the Syria government was legitimate, not put in place by a coup instigated by Russia. The same cannot be said for the government in Kiev, which we installed.

It's almost as if US foreign policy is situational at one level, and single-minded about its quest for world domination at the highest level. It's not treason to want an America that eschews foreign entanglements as much as possible.

Temujin said...

Hmm...1300 estimated dead? Pretty awful.

Ann Althouse said...

I deleted 3 disrespectful comments.

Ann Althouse said...

Please stop offering disrespectful comments.

West TX Intermediate Crude said...

1300 dead- awful, and probably there are a lot more.
Hard to believe that there were 3 comments more disrespectful than donald at 0735, but I'll trust your judgment.

lonejustice said...

Professor, thanks for deleting the disrespectful comments.

My father-in-law was born near the Gaziantep Castle, a fortress that dates clear back to the Hittite, Roman, and Byzantine Empires. It was destroyed during the earthquake. This is a beautiful part of Turkey, and a loss of a magnificent historical building, as well as a loss of innocent human life.


Ann Althouse said...

@West TX Intermediate Crude

That one is deleted now. I hadn't noticed it. I can't read every comment before publishing, and things can get through and need to be deleted after the fact.

It's demoralizing to see how awful some people are.

Tofu King said...

I'm not religious. But if I was I would offer prayers to all those impacted regardless of race, religion, or politics. We're all humans striving for a better life.

Ann Althouse said...


You're welcome.

I was clicking around at your link and saw "It is not the 2,200 year-old castle that is destroyed. It is the replica constructed under "renovation" in 2016 !"

What is left of the original may remain.

Tom T. said...

Syria was doing the exact same thing that Ukraine has been doing

Syria dropped poison gas on its own civilians. Ukraine resisted a foreign military invasion.

donald said...

Truth can be pretty painful.

tim in vermont said...

Yeah Tom T, that’s what the same Washington Post that lied us into Iraq says. Steve McIntyre has done a pretty good job of dismantling it though. If the US military can be drawn into a war on your side by a gas attack in territory you control, that’s like paying an enormous sum to you to create a false flag.

The real problem is that Syria, like Iraq and Libya were, is a Russian client, and so is a target by the American empire, same as they were. Turkey has accepted Russian condolences and offers of aid, unlike their rejection of US condolences a couple of months ago due to the US funding and arming of terror groups on its border in Syria.

Joe Smith said...

'We're all humans striving for a better life.'

This is demonstrably false.

See Ayatollahs, Taliban, Communists, etc.

tim in vermont said...

Maybe, if the US can't find it in its heart to lift sanctions on Syria, it could stop using US troops to steal 80% if Syria's oil.

Kate said...

A 7.8 is a terrifying stretch of time that lasts forever. When your feet don't work and the world is sideways, it's a disaster. And then buildings are falling on you, the part I've never experienced, blessedly. It's a sad report.

veni vidi vici said...

"Syria dropped poison gas on its own civilians. Ukraine resisted a foreign military invasion."

Sure; UKR hasn't been shelling its eastern provinces since 2014 or anything. How can everyone know that except Tom?

veni vidi vici said...

Now, imagine NATO troops brought in for disaster relief in member Turkey, on the one hand, and Russian troops brought in for disaster relief in their controlled territory of Syria referenced in the article, on the other hand.

Phrases like, "open up a second front", "powder keg", and of course, "false flag" all come pretty easily to mind.

Let's hope not.

tim in vermont said...

That "chemical attack" by Syria sure was convenient for the neocons, the more you think about it. Same as "Russia blowing up its own pipeline" was.

Narr said...

Deus vult. Inshallah.


Narr said...

"We're all humans striving for a better life."

Where do you get this stuff?

SteveWe said...

Looking at the pictures of collapsed buildings in Turkey and Syria, I don't see much rebar or concrete aggregate. I do see a lot of cement and what little reinforcing steel is smooth rod. I also see terra cotta and concrete blocks. This is NOT the way to build multi-floor apartment or commercial buildings -- especially in locations that experience frequent earthquakes.

tim in vermont said...

Holy crap! I hope there's no artillery in any of those containers.


Narr said...

The people of Turkey and Syria know perfectly well how to build strong buildings (it ain't rocket surgery) and after every such disaster their governments vow to get serious about their building codes . . .

I've watched the same pattern since the 1970s, FFS.

Islam eventually stunts the mind.

West TX Intermediate Crude said...

No doubt they built quick and dirty.
Do you have an educated/professional estimation of what a 7.8 would do to a typical American city. I'm guessing way less damage in west coast cities that have quake codes for building. What about Kansa City or Chicago?

takirks said...

There's been long-ongoing corruption in Turkish construction. The last big series of earthquakes showed that.

Much like South Korea and a bunch of other places in Asia; you might remember the department store that collapsed a few years ago?

There are a lot of "little details" about administration that some cultures just don't value. The Japanese are an aberration in Asia, but even they have problems with everything being done to standard.

If you think this is bad, wait until the next big series of earthquakes or other disasters hit China. Three Gorges Dam is not the least likely thing to fail, either.

Care to imagine what all those "tofu-dreg" cities and apartment buildings in China will look like, after the shaking gets done?

A lot of the problem boils down to culture; across most of southern Eurasia, there's a lot of fatalism endemic to human affairs and decision-making. The attitude is that there's little to no value in prevention or safety; if someone is going to die, they're going to die. Pro-active preventive measures aren't baked into society's social norms, values, or mores. Indeed, you're considered a fool to prepare unnecessarily, or to do more than you absolutely have to in terms of building something. Maintenance or even just taking care of something is also seen as anathema; that's why all those old temple buildings across China are falling apart. Nobody values them.

KellyM said...

My earthquake app this morning showed consistent aftershocks that ranged anywhere from 3.0 to 6.0, with one sometimes coming on the heels of the other. That's the part that's so scary.
The comments being left by those experiencing it are unsettling.

I will agree that for such an earthquake prone area the building standards seem rather antiquated. But then again, If SF had the same thing happen as Turkey, would it be a similar situation, despite the building retrofitting and modern construction techniques?

Inga said...

The earthquake in New York was an odd one. People are reporting it felt more like a bomb had gone off than the typical rolling, rumbling of an earthquake. Videos of it are strange too. It was very quick, but looked pretty strong.

The people of Turkey and Syria aren’t our enemies, I don’t understand the animosity.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

Earthquake prediction for that region on February 3rd. He's predicting a 9.6 earthquake for February 7 at 4:00 UTC. That's awfully precise.


PresbyPoet said...

San Fran might have codes, but with the corruption, who knows what has been built with bribes. Apparently a Chinese construction firm , Z&L properties principal executive was recently arrested in London for a San Francisco bribery and corruption case, as noted in an San Jose Mercury article today.

Where there is corruption, buildings fall down. One of the most recent San Francisco tall buildings is tilting. Just bad design? Or someone was on the take, and didn't require footings to go down to bedrock? The good news is that LA, Seattle, Portland, Memphis, Salt Lake City are all in greater danger than the bay. But no one knows when the hit will come. Cascadia went 322 years ago in 1700. We know a 9 is coming, not when. When New Madrid wakes up, Memphis dies.

The reason the bay is there is because the Hayward fault on the east pushes east, and the San Andreas on the west pushes west, so the land between widens, the sediment sinks, and the bay remains a feature. California gives a different meaning to the "hills are alive" song. Most of north Berkeley is a slowly moving landslide. San Jose's "hills" are full of landslides due to the upthrust from the fault movements.

Regarding Buffalo, according to the USGS, it was very shallow. less than 2 miles, and also of a size that would be just tiny earth movement. So someone close would feel it as a bang.

The 7.8 Turkey earthquake lasted around 90 seconds, When the ground ruptures for a 100 miles, it takes a while for the shaking to reach you. The bigger the quake the longer the rupture, the longer the shaking happens.

SteveWe said...

For those interested in California earthquakes, I refer you to Wikipedia:

Loma Prieta 1989 which occurred during a World Series game and produced a freeway collapse in Oakland and liquefaction of the ground in the Mission District of San Francisco:

Northridge 1994 that produced a freeway interchange collapse of the I-5 and SR 14 as it did before in 1971 (so much for remedial work), the collapse of the Northridge Meadows apartment complex, and the the collapse of parking structures in Northridge: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Northridge_earthquake

California used a lot more rebar in concrete supports and spans and they still collapsed because concrete columns need to jacketed to keep crumbled concrete within the column and still bearing the load.

I was a SoCal resident from 1960 to 2016.

tim in vermont said...

"The people of Turkey and Syria aren’t our enemies, I don’t understand the animosity"

Why do we have.soldiers then occupying parts of Syria and arming terrorist groups who attack Turkey? Why do you. think that Turkey is basically undermining NATO from within? I mean, I agree with you here, but when Donald Trump ordered our troops out of Syria, the military lied to him and kept the troops there.



For somebody who doesn't think that Syria is our enemy, it's pretty strange that you not only voted for Biden , you shilled for him.

gpm said...

>> This is a beautiful part of Turkey, and a loss of a magnificent historical building, as well as a loss of innocent human life.

It's been maybe 35 years since I originally read it, but the first part of "From the Holy Mountain" focuses on that area. The book was written by an author who replicated a trip taken by a monk in, I think, just past the age of Justinian, starting from Mount Athos (the "Holy Mountain" of the title) through Anatolia, then Syria (and maybe Lebanon), Israel, and the Sinai, ending up in Alexandria.

One interesting part of that portion of the journey consisted of visits to a number of monasteries that had been in existence for something like 1500 years but were clearly on their last legs. There were some monasteries in the Jordan Valley in Israel that were in much better circumstances (some treated as holy shrines by local Muslims). Then, of course, St. Catherine's, which is sui generis.


Michael said...

Terrible. No calamity worse than an earthquake which comes without warning and which may or may not be the one, the bigger one,yet to come. In places where the construction standards are sketchy if they exist at all the devastation is magnified. The death estimates are probably off by half