A 4.6-magnitude earthquake which struck southwest of Istanbul in the Marmara Sea on Sept. 24 caused panic among the residents of Istanbul.
The quake hit at a depth of 5.36 kilometers at 11 a.m. local time near the Silivri district of Istanbul, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
The quake was also felt in neighboring provinces.
According to a statement issued by the Istanbul Governor’s Office, so far no causalities or any damage were reported, but the earthquake triggered fear among many Istanbul locals, remembering the devastating 1999 Marmara earthquake – the worst seismic disaster in the country’s recent history.
The Aug. 17, 1999 quake had a magnitude of 7.5 and hit the Marmara region, the most industrial and densely populated region of the country, killing 17,480 people.
Over 285,000 buildings were damaged and 600,000 people were left homeless after the 45-second quake, which left social and economic wounds that took years to heal.
Experts have been warning against another big earthquake in the Marmara region within 25-30 years.
A senior principal researcher at Boğaziçi University Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute held a press meeting on Sept. 24, saying that an earthquake with a magnitude of 6-7 was awaited in the Marmara region at an unknown future, but not too far away.
“We cannot say when the big earthquake will happen. Small earthquakes do not take big earthquakes’ energies. The expected earthquake will have a magnitude of about 7, but will not be as big as the Aug. 17  quake,” Dr. Doğan Kalafat said.
Silivri Mayor Volkan Yılmaz joined a TV program on Sept. 24, saying that there has not been any reports of damages or injuries regarding the earthquake. “But, as Istanbul residents, we have to face with the reality of earthquake,” he said.
Some schools in Istanbul were temporarily evacuated on Sept. 24 as a precaution in the wake of the quake. Video footages showed students waiting at school gardens’ assembly points. They were later taken their classes after a while.
The Istanbul Governor’s Office issued a statement regarding the incident later in the day, saying: “It has been understood that only in our Silivri and Avcılar districts, students in some of our schools were evacuated from their classrooms by our school managements as a precaution. There is no negative issue that will disrupt the education in any of the schools in our province.”
Hurriyet Daily News