Massive Earthquake Kills Thousands in Turkey and Syria

Feb 7, 2023

Earthquake Energy and Frequency

This story was last updated: February 6 at 11:15 PM EST.

A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey early Monday. More than 4,300 people in that country and neighboring Syria were killed. At least 18,000 people were injured. More than three-fourths of the deaths and injuries occurred in Turkey. 

The death toll could rise as high as 10,000, the US Geological Survey (USGS) estimated. Rescuers are still searching through rubble for survivors. The quake could also wreak $1 billion in damage, the USGS said. The estimates are compiled from data collected from remote sensors that detect seismic activity.

The quake struck 14 miles east of Nurdağı. The small city of roughly 41,000 people is located just north of the Syrian border. It's about 50 miles east of the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which has a population of 2 million. The quake severely damaged, if not destroyed, an ancient castle in Gaziantep. The castle was once used by ancient Romans and Byzantines. A nearby mosque was also ruined.

The pre-dawn quake forced residents out of their homes and into the rain. There, they struggled to avoid getting crushed by falling buildings. The region was later struck by a series of aftershocks. One had a magnitude of 7.5. That's nearly as strong as the first quake. Workers continued to cut through the wreckage and remove bodies well into the night. Many are waiting for news about missing relatives.

“My grandson is 1 1/2 years old,” one woman told The Associated Press as she stood beside her destroyed apartment building in Adana waiting to hear about her family. “Please help them, please. We can’t hear them or get any news from them since morning. Please, they were on the 12th floor.”

According to the infographic, which of the following notable earthquakes had the highest magnitude? (Common Core RI.5.7; RI.6.7)
a. Turkey 2020
b. Turkey 2023
c. Japan 2011
d. Chile 1960
For more formative assessments, visit to start a free trial.

News brought to you by The Juice

Start a free trial today