7.2 Eastern Turkey Earthquake

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck 12 miles northeast of the city of Van in eastern Turkey on Sunday, October 23, 2011. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 12.4 miles and caused strong shaking throughout a broad area, causing significant damage to Van and neighboring towns.

IRIS – Teachable Moment Presentation, Animations and Visualizations

Articles to Share with Students

General Information

Questions for Classroom Discussion

  • What is an earthquake? Where are earthquakes most common?
  • Describe the difference between the magnitude (Richter Scale) and intensity (Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale) of an earthquake. Why are both of these scales important for learning about an earthquake event?
  • How do scientists study earthquakes? Who else is involved in studying and reporting on earthquakes besides scientists?
  • Where was the most recent earthquake in the United States? In the world? Which recent earthquake was the closest to you? (*use the website http://earthquake.usgs.gov/ to answer this question)
  • Are earthquakes common or rare in Eastern Turkey? Explain why.
  • Could an earthquake occur in Pennsylvania? Explain why/why not.
  • Why do you think earthquakes are so difficult to predict?
  • Should people be able to live in an area where earthquakes occur? Why/why not?

Big Ideas

From the Earth Science Literacy Principles Big Idea 1. Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet. (1.2, 1.3, 1.4)

  • Big Idea 3. Earth is a complex system of interacting rock, water, air, and life. (3.6, 3.7)
  • Big Idea 4. Earth is continuously changing. (4.5)
  • Big Idea 8. Natural hazards pose risks to humans. (8.1, 8.4, 8.6, 8.7, 8.8)

From The Big Ideas in Earth and Space Science (ESBD)

  • The Geosphere (5)
  • The Nature of Science (21, 22, 24)

Compiled October 24, 2011, by L.A. Guertin

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