Satellites Assess Earthquake Damage in Turkey
The magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes that struck southern Turkey and western Syria on February 6, 2023, caused widespread destruction in both countries.
The initial, stronger earthquake emanated from a fault 11 miles (18 kilometers) below the surface. The shallow depth meant the earthquake produced violent shaking that affected areas hundreds of miles from the epicenter, 16 miles (26 kilometers) east of the city of Nurdagi, Turkey. The second quake followed nine hours later, striking 6 miles (10 kilometers) deep, roughly 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) south-southeast of the Turkish town of Ekinözü. Hundreds of smaller aftershocks occurred in subsequent days.
The preliminary damage proxy map above shows parts of the Turkish cities of Islahiye, Kahramanmaras, and Nurdagi. Dark red pixels represent areas likely to have severe damage to buildings, homes, and infrastructure or changes to landscape, while orange and yellow areas are moderately or partially damaged. Each pixel measures about 100 feet (30 meters) across (about the size of a baseball infield). The damage estimates are most accurate for urban areas and may be less accurate in the mountain and vegetated areas.
The Earth Observatory of Singapore – Remote Sensing Lab and the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech collaborated to derive the map from data collected by Japan's Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 satellite (ALOS-2) on February 8, 2023. The satellite carries a synthetic aperture radar, a sensor that sends pulses of microwaves toward Earth's surface and records for the reflections of those waves to map the landscape, including buildings. By comparing the February 8 data to observations made by the same satellite before the earthquake (on April 7, 2021 and April 6, 2022), scientists tracked the changes and began to identify areas that were likely damaged.
Additional files are available to download at:
NASA Products for the Turkey Earthquakes 2023