Istanbul facing 7.2 magnitude earthquake, warns leading geologist

The abnormalities in the fault line which Istanbul lies on point to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake affecting the city’s Silivri-Kumburgaz-Büyükçekmece regions, renowned Turkish geologist Naci Görür said on Saturday.

Görür took to Twitter to weigh in on the latest evaluation by the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, which has reiterated a warning for an earthquake in Turkey’s most populous city.

"The section (of the city), spanning from the shores of Silivri to Büyükçekmece, could be a candidate for possible earthquakes in the future,’’ the observatory said.  "Speed contrasts point to possible ruptures.’’

Turkey’s megacity of Istanbul, which has a population of 16 million, is located close to the North Anatolian fault line, which according to experts has the potential to produce tremors with the magnitude of 7.0 and above.

Görür said that he had for years stressed that one of the locked fault lines in the Sea of Marmara was the Kumburgaz fault line, which lies between the shores of Silivri and Yeşilköy regions.

"I am expressing that the anticipated earthquake will take place over this section at a minimum of 7.2 magnitude,’’ Görür said. "The statements by Kandilli today are correct and should be heeded.’’

The Istanbul Planning Agency (IPA), an initiative by the city’s metropolitan municipality, has estimated that at least 48,000 buildings would be severely damaged in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, while another 194,000 would register at least medium-severity damage. 

The city stands to lose 120 billion liras ($14.2 billion) in the immediate aftermath of such an earthquake, the IPA said, with the human cost will be even higher.