|Magnitude 7.8 Mw|
Max. intensity XII (Extreme)
Start date December 27, 1939
|Depth 20 km (12 mi)|
Tsunami .53 m (1 ft 9 in)
Total damage 20 million USD
|Areas affected Erzincan Province
Casualties 32,700–32,968 dead 100,000 injured
Similar 1509 Constantinople earthquake, 1966 Varto earthquake, 1999 Düzce earthquake, 1995 Dinar earthquake, 1999 İzmit earthquake
The 1939 Erzincan earthquake struck eastern Turkey at 1:57:23 a.m. on 27 December local time with a moment magnitude of 7.8 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of XII (Extreme). This was one of the largest in a sequence of violent shocks to affect Turkey along the North Anatolian Fault between 1939 and 1999.
The first stage of the earthquake killed about 8,000 people. The next day, it was reported that the death toll had risen to 20,000. An emergency relief operation began. By January 5, almost 33,000 had died due to the earthquakes and to blizzard conditions, followed by heavy rains that caused floods. So extensive was the damage to Erzincan city that its old site was entirely abandoned and a new settlement was founded a little further to the north.
In the next few years there were three more 7+ magnitude quakes in the region. Turkey soon adopted seismic building regulations.