Magnitude-7.0 quake strikes Aegean Sea

A strong earthquake rattled Turkey and Greece today, causing significant damage and a tsunami that flooded parts of Seferihisar, Turkey, and the Greek island of Samos.

By Jennifer Schmidt, Ph.D., Temblor Earthquake News Director (@DrJenGEO)

Citation: Schmidt, J., 2020, Magnitude-7.0 quake strikes Aegean Sea, Temblor,

Oct. 30: A strong magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea at 2:51 p.m. local time Friday. Reports of damage and collapsed buildings are coming in throughout İzmir, Turkey — approximately 45 miles (70 kilometers) northeast of epicenter. Turkey’s minister of health, Fahrettin Koca, tweeted that medical teams are working to help those affected in İzmir. Hundreds have been injured, according to Turkey’s minister of environment and urbanization. On the Greek island of Samos, two fatalities were reported.

The quake ruptured an east- to west-oriented tensional (“normal”) fault just north of Samos, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Western Turkey contains numerous normal faults that accommodate north-south stretching of the crust as Turkey is being pushed by the Arabian Plate, and fans out or spreads as it enters the Aegean Sea.


Map of the magnitude-7.0 and aftershocks.
Map of the magnitude-7.0 and aftershocks.


The closest seismic station to the epicenter — operated by Kandilli Observatory of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul — recorded a maximum ground acceleration of 0.2 g. This station, located south of İzmir, recorded peak shaking with a one-second resonance period. In other words, the series of strong seismic waves each struck about a second apart. This means that 10- to 14-story buildings, which have the same resonant period, shook more strongly than smaller or taller buildings. Cell phone videos indicate some tall buildings like this were destroyed in the quake.

Following the quake, a tsunami flooded parts of Seferihisar, Turkey, directly north of the epicenter, and coastal Samos. Videos on Twitter show boats in a drained harbor sitting on the seafloor before the tsunami struck.



Residents as far away as Istanbul, Turkey (250 mi/400 km away), and Athens, Greece (160 mi/260 km), felt shaking. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, and aftershocks are expected to continue.


This is a developing story. See the latest article for additional coverage.