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North Anatolian fault
The North Anatolian Fault is one of the most energetic earthquake zones in the world. Turkey is set on a minor tectonic plate which is being squeezed westwards as the Arabian and the Eurasian plates move together. The North Anatolian Plate is grinding past the two plates at a rate between 1cm and 20cm a year. Since the disasterous 1939 Erzincan earthquake, there has been seven earthquakes measuring over 7.0 on the Richter scale, each has happened at a point progressively further west. Seismologists studying this pattern, believe that earthquakes happen in "storms" over a number of decades and that one earthquake triggers the next. By analysing the stresses caused along the fault by each earthquake, they were able to forecast a disturbance that hit the town of Izmit with such a devastating effect in August 1999. It is thought that the chain is not complete, and that an earthquake will soon strike further west along the fault - perhaps in the heavily populated town of Istanbul.
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