Residents of Southern Turkey were again jolted by a new earthquake Monday, this trembler reported by the U.S. Geology Survey (USGS) as 6.3 in magnitude. News reports state that scores of buildings that were damaged in powerful quakes on February 6 have been further damaged or outright collapsed.

Virginia Tech’s Robert Weiss, who studies natural hazards, calls the devastating trio of earthquake “unusual,” but not “impossible.” He added, “The mysteries of the planet are deep … literally.”

Two weeks ago, powerful earthquakes – one 7.8 in magnitude, the second 7.5 in magnitude – struck the region in the early morning, causing thousands of buildings to collapse and killing more than 46,000 people. So far, no deaths have been reported from today’s quake.

The planet’s plates under Turkey and Syria are volatile. This latest earthquake is reported to have occurred at a depth of roughly 6 miles.

“The Anatolian Plate is sandwiched in an interesting position that enables these earthquakes,” Weiss said. “While the possibility exists for repeated large-ish earthquakes, it seems our planet continues to provide mysteries to solve.”

After the back-to-back earthquakes on Feb. 6, Weiss said, “Turkey is located in a collision zone of two plates similar to the ring of fire around the Pacific Ocean.”  

Weiss said the possibility of a tsunami resulting from the earthquake is unlikely. “The location and the earthquake mechanisms are not effective in creating significant tsunami,” he said.

About Weiss

Robert Weiss examines the impact of coastal hazards in the geologic past, today and in the future. His work analyzes how climate change and sea-level rise could change the nature and impacts of coastal hazards in coming years. He develops computer models and uses data analytics to translate the geologic record of coastal hazards into insights that improve the understanding of coastal hazards in the past and today. Weiss is an associate professor of natural hazards in the College of Science’s Department of Geosciences.

Schedule an interview

To secure a live or recorded interview with Robert Weiss, contact Margaret Ashburn in the media relations office at or by phone at 540-529-0814 or Steven Mackay of the College of Science at or 540-739-9434.

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