A 4.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the Acıpayam district of Denizli province in the west, eleven minutes before a 4.1 magnitude earthquake hit the Otlukbeli district of Erzincan in northern Turkey Sunday.
The first earthquake triggered concerns in Acıpayam where a 5.5-magnitude earthquake damaged dozens of buildings on March 20. Experts say it is not an aftershock. Authorities said a two-story building and a stable in a village collapsed in the earthquake. Some houses in rural Acıpayam had cracks in their walls as well, although no casualties were reported. Voting for municipal elections was in progess when the earthquake occurred, sending panicked voters running from polling stations. Voting resumed after a break. Locals said they were "panicked" although they have been getting used to aftershocks after the earlier earthquake. "My house was rocking like a cradle," said Ahmet Uy, who took his family out when the earthquake hit. His wife Ayşe said it was a normal tremor but they were very scared when they heard "a big noise" from the ground and fled home.
Professor Hasan Sözbilir of Dokuz Eylül University, a seismology expert, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the earthquake in Acıpayam was not an aftershock but a rather "a new earthquake developing on a side fault line linked to main fault line that triggered March 20 earthquake." Sözbilir said there have been aftershocks with magnitudes ranging between 4.5 and 4.8 but yesterday's earthquake was "separate" from them. "There are at least five side fault lines linked to the main one and each can trigger each other, creating a continuation in an earthquake storm," Sözbilir said. He added that the "earthquake storm" can "migrate" to other areas in the region and will likely cause to new earthquakes of similar magnitude.
In Erzincan's Otlukbeli, authorities said a 4.1-magnitude earthquake occurred some seven kilometers below the ground. Officials said there were no reports of casualties or damage to buildings in the earthquake. Erzincan was at the epicenter of a 7.9-magnitude earthquake in 1939, the largest of its kind.