EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Less than expected? Landslides triggered by the 2023 Mw 7.7 and 7.6 Kahramanmaras (Türkiye) earthquake sequence

Tolga Gorum1 and Hakan Tanyas2
Tolga Gorum and Hakan Tanyas
  • 1Istanbul Technical University, Eurasia Institute of Earth Sciences, Solid Earth, Istanbul, Türkiye (
  • 2University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), Enschede, Netherlands (

A devastating earthquake sequence occurred on February 6, 2023, within the East Anatolian fault system. Two main shocks, the Mw 7.7 Sofalaca-Şehitkamil-Gaziantep, and Mw 7.6 Ekinözü-Kahramanmaraş earthquakes occurred nine hours apart and affected 10 cities and more than an area of 100,000 km2 (PGA>0.08g). The earthquake-affected area mainly exhibits arid/semi-arid climatic conditions where approximately 15% of the landscape is characterized by steep topography (slope steepness>20°). Initial estimates of globally available predictive landslide models indicated extensive landslide distribution over the area.

We examined high-resolution satellite images and aerial photos to provide a better insight into this co-seismic landslide event and its possible post-seismic consequences. These observations are going to be validated and enriched by detailed field surveys. This research presents our preliminary findings as a result of these investigations. Our observations carried out in the first two weeks after the sequence showed that rock fall and lateral spreading are the dominant landslide types, and the overall landslide population could be less than expected. Therefore, the resultant co-seismic landslide event seems unexpected, given the intensity of ground shaking and landscape characteristics. Based on the preliminary investigations, lithology, topographic relief, and climatic conditions appear to be the main variables causing these below expectations for landslide distribution. We should stress that our historical records mostly lack landslide events in arid/semi-arid conditions, as we observed in this event. In this context, this event is going to be recorded as one of a few of its kind. Our observations also showed intense ground shaking and strongly deformed numbers of hillslopes, although most have not failed yet. In particular, heavy rain and snowmelt may result in a considerable number of failures on those hillslopes that are prone to cracking and deformation due to strong ground shaking. In this respect, this area needs to be monitored for a long time to understand the earthquake legacy effect and post-seismic hillslope response.

How to cite: Gorum, T. and Tanyas, H.: Less than expected? Landslides triggered by the 2023 Mw 7.7 and 7.6 Kahramanmaras (Türkiye) earthquake sequence, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-17606,, 2023.