An Olive Grove Was Partly Swallowed After Devastating Turkey/Syria Earthquake

Elisabeth Edwards
Photo Credit: Oguz Yeter / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Oguz Yeter / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

A devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria split an olive grove in two, revealing an incredible ridge that demonstrates the sheer destructive power behind the natural phenomenon that claimed the lives of at least 42,000 people.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern and central Turkey as well as northern and western Syria in the early hours of February 6, 2023, not far from the East Anatolilan Faultline – known to be a hotbed of seismic activity where the Anatolian and Arabian tectonic plates meet. The earthquake was categorized as a “left-lateral strike-slip fault” where plates on either side of the fault line shifted to the left, causing massive tremors while the land was literally torn apart.

A Turkish city lies in ruins after the devastating 2023 earthquake
The city of Hatay, Turkey in ruins after the earthquake. (Photo Credit: Burak Kara / Getty Images)

After the initial quake, a second 7.5-magnitude event occurred several hours later. In the days since the tragedy, rescue workers are still pulling people from the rubble of the buildings that were leveled by the force of the quake. On February 16, a crew rescued a teenage girl who had survived ten days underneath the rubble, and a 77-year-old woman in the city of Adiyaman was also rescued 212 hours after the disaster. As of the publishing of this article, 42,000 people are confirmed dead as a result of the earthquake – a staggering increase from the initial reports that claimed only 4,300 had died.

Overhead view of the affected olive grove
An aerial view of a fissure that opened up in the middle of an olive grove after the earthquake. (Photo Credit: Oguz Yeter / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

Turkey has also arrested several contractors in the wake of the disaster after allegations that poor building codes and construction standards contributed to the overwhelming death toll. Some believe that over 100 contractors are to blame for the many large residential buildings that collapsed in the quake. They should have been able to withstand the magnitude, as they were advertised as complying with building regulations.

A man holds a cellphone over the large canyon that opened up in an olive grove
A man takes a photo of the fissure that partly swallowed a local olive grove. (Photo Credit: Oguz Yeter / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

While major Turkish cities have experienced mass devastation, people in the rural parts of the affected area have also lost homes and vital sources of income.

An olive grove in Tepehan, Turkey was split in two and is now separated by a massive one-and-a-half-mile-long canyon that plunges over 160 feet into the ground. NBC News published drone footage of the massive canyon that was caused by the earthquake. The chasm has become a popular attraction for locals looking to peer over the edge of the crack.

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The United Nations released an appeal to receive $1 billion dollars in humanitarian aid to go toward those affected in Turkey and Syria, especially as more people are becoming frustrated over the lack of efficient help from government officials.