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Earthquake Information Manual

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Turkey has a very interesting history. Its regional geological structure is rather complicated, as it consists of mountains, lakes, seas and rivers. Local geology of Istanbul exaggerates because this region is divided into two parts by the Bosporus strait. Mountains prevail over plains in the country. This fact always becomes the reason for earthquakes, especially in its eastern part. Geographical condition`s diversity of Turkey makes it unique and inimitable in its beauty.

Firstly, Turkey is situated in the Eastern Hemisphere. 97% of its territory is situated in Europe and 3% - in Asia. The main distinctive feature is that it is situated in the intersection of very important sea ways. This country has an extent of 1600 km from West to East and 600 km from North to South (DiPiazza, 1961). Turkish region has 89 peaks, each of them is at least 10,000 feet and even more. The Anatolian Plateau is the part of the country, where Himalaya-Alpine is situated which is its highest part. It occupies 80% of country`s surface. The Taurus Mountains stretch along the southern coast. The Pontiac (North Anatolian Mountains) and Taurus mountains separate the Anatolian Plateau from the northern and southern coasts. They follow the Black Sea. Position of the sea does not fully protect this part of the country from earthquakes, the last of which took part on 23 October, 2011, which had a magnitude of 7.2. Its epicenter was the town of Van. The most affected areas were the central region and eastern region of Turkey to the southern border of the eastern complex continental collision (Turkey Earthquake, 2011). 4% of the territory is situated in the zone of destructive earthquakes. There are several seismic zones: Aegean-Marble-Sea region, Central-Anatolian, North-Anatolian, South-Eastern zones. South-Eastern and Aegean-Marble-Sea regions are the most dangerous, as rifts of Dead Sea and East-African rifts are situated there (Sheehan, 2000). The Taurus Mountains in the south extend along the Mediterranean coast and eastern board of Syrian border. These mountains have a lot of caves and underground streams. The Arabian Platform in the South-Eastern coast is rather dangerous, as it can give way to rolling hills. Most of these mountains are full of forests. They separate the Turkish coast from the inner regions (DiPiazza, 1961). Climate is mostly mild in the country, as mountains protect the surface from direct hit of sunbeams.

Secondly, the Straits Bosporus and Dardanelles, which divide Istanbul in Eastern and Western parts, are connected with the Aegean Sea. The Bosporus is situated in the northern part of the country, where most of the highest mountains are situated. It softens tremors during earthquakes. This Strait has a special control mode of vessel’s passing, as stream of water is strong and pass is very narrow. It is 10 miles long and its maximum depth is 122 meters. The Dardanelles is 25 miles long and 103 meters deep. The main feature of London convention on control mode of vessel`s passing is that Turkish side does not allow aircraft carriers and submarines to cut through the Bosporus and Dardanelles. Submarines are allowed to pass it in above-water position. These Straits are connected with the Aegean Sea, which gives way to the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean (DiPiazza, 1961). Istanbul, as World Heritage City with the population of 12 million people, is protected from disasters in the Straits by the Turkish Government and UNESCO. In 2001, comprehensive radar system was built to provide navigation for vessels. At that time, building of alternative ways of transporting oil began. In 1998, the Traffic Separation System was built on the initiative of Turkish government. This system allows the country to control the number of ships passing through the Straits and the amount of taxes on their passing through. From 1936, “the period of Montreau” began. It is called in so because the convention on passing through the Straits of the Black Sea was signed in Montreau. The fact of building Separation System is one of the disturbing actions for earthquakes (Sheehan, 2000).

Turkey is a land of lakes, rivers and seas. Lake Van and lakes around I-Sparta are the biggest in the region. The Euphrates and the Tigris are the longest rivers in the Middle East. They are used as commercial ways between Iraq, Syria and Turkey. These rivers are also used as sources for hydro energy and system of irritation for arid lands (DiPaizza, 1961). The Sakaria and Kizil rivers and the Halys are significant for the economy and industrial sphere of Turkey. The Malander river, which flows from the Taurus mountains to the Aegean Sea, is full-flowing. Its waters irritate plains near the coast of the Taurus Mountains and create the most fertile valley in the country.

Thirdly, geological structure of Turkey is rather complicated. It has two episodes of magmatism in South-Eastern part of the country. Varied landscapes have been shaped over millions of years. Variety of tectonic processes formed tectonic rocks. Practically 85% of the country has a height of 450 meters and the median altitude of 1,128 meters. A central massif was formed by uplifted blocks and folded down by recent deposits. Asiatic part of Turkish region is flat and gently inclined land. It has a large variety of deltas of the Kizil River. Over 80% of the surface is rough and covered with mountains.

Geologically, country is formed of a part of the great Alpine belt that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Himalaya Mountains. Geological structures are very old. The belt of the great Alpine was formed during the Cenozoic Era. Turkey was built up of different plates: Arabian, African and Indian Continental. These plates collided with the Eurasian Plate and the Anatolian Plate, which formed the basis for Turkish mountains. Also one of the main rocks of Turkey is Precambrian rock. Some of the Precambrian rocks are 540 million years old (Bozkurt, 2003). Turkey consists of Tetyan Eurasian Metallogenic Belt. Intercontinental rifting has volcanic structure. It is formed by epithermal gold and silver deposits.

Fourthly, Turkey can be divided into four regions. Each of them has special features. They are: Eastern Turkey, Western Turkey, Central Anatolia and Black Sea Areas. Eastern Turkey can be characterized as mountainous region. In the South East of Turkey there are hot summers. This part is dryer than others. The Tigris and the Euphrates originate in this part of country. Black Sea Areas extend from the northern boarders of the country to West. Mostly this region is famous for its cherries and tea plantations. Central Anatolia is formed by high land plateaus, volcanoes and mountains. Ankara, the capital of the country, is situated in this part of the country. Western Turkey is called Marmara. Istanbul, the largest city of Turkey, is situated here. The main geographical feature is that it consists of rolling hills. Temperatures are normal and hazards are large in Central Anatolia. The Bosporus and the Dardanelles divide the country into two parts – western and eastern. The western part is pro-European and the eastern – pro-Asian. Each of the regions has extraordinary features, which make it special. Turkey, due to the characteristics, is the southern country, with good harvests and high mountains in its territory.

Istanbul is the biggest city in the country. It is involved in Western seismic zone, that is exposed to zones with the most dangerous and destructive earthquakes. This city can be characterized as some kind of bridge between the European and Asian continents. Istanbul has very beneficial position. It is washed by seas and straits from all sides. In its southern part, it is washed by the Marmara Sea, one of the most popular world resorts. In the north, the Black Sea is situated. The Bosporus divides the city into two parts: western and eastern. The Western part is in Europe, and the Eastern is in Asia. Istanbul is a big seaport of both Asia and Europe. This city is the only one that is situated on two continents. The European part of Istanbul is more progressive and developed, while the Asian is poorer and less advanced. It has an international importance, as it joins most of the commercial ways (The Geography of Istanbul). In Turkey, Istanbul is the biggest financial and cultural center. In Europe, it is considered to be the most populous city and the fourth largest city in the world. It is famous for its combination of modern and ancient buildings. In 2010, it was chosen as the joint European Capital of Culture for 2010.

The geological structure of Istanbul is very complicated, as Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic periods are found in Istanbul Rocks mostly in Asian side and in Carboniferous rocks in Eastern side (Öztunali and Satir, 1973). The territory of Istanbul can be affected by faulting because of rocks` clashes.  There are a lot of sets of joints that are being studied by geologists. The Southern part of Istanbul is the territory, which is under the risk of serious earthquakes. However, the earthquake risk decreases from South to North of the city, as the Marmara Sea is full of sets of rocks and in this where the most active faults take place. In this area, the lithological characteristics of rocks and soils are rather  Moreover, an interesting fact is that Istanbul, in spite of complicated and dangerous geological structure, has its own underground with two excavation stages. The depth of the stages is 22 meters in average. The first excavation stage is under the risk of landslide, as it is situated close to the sets of rocks of different eras.

In conclusion, one can mention that Istanbul is the city with a great cultural heritage. One of its main advantages is that it is an international sea port, which connects Asian and European parts. The sets of rocks of different eras are situated rather close to each other, because of that geological engineers should be on the watch of possible earthquakes and fallings.

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