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‘It’s devastating:’ Utahn born in Turkey expresses her concerns after 7.8 earthquake

Feb 6, 2023, 6:30 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 6:01 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah Seismograph Stations recorded the massive earthquake that rocked Turkey early Monday.

The destructive energy generated by the earthquake in Turkey dwarfs the earthquake that rattled Magna nearly three years ago. That’s distressing to a Salt Lake City café owner who was born not far from the epicenter and still has family and friends in that area.

Elif Ekin owns Kahve Cafe, a Turkish café, where she serves up, authentic coffee, meals and treats. She was born in Adana, in southeastern Turkey.

“Where it’s the epicenter right now with the earthquake,” she said.

Her father is Turkish and her mother is American.

“That’s where my mom and dad lived for like five years in the late 60s, early 70s,” she said.

She first heard about the earthquake from a text from a friend in Turkey. Ekin’s family and friends are OK, but she’s troubled for the Turkish people.

“It’s devastating,” she said. “Especially because where the earthquake happened was in the lower income area of that vicinity. So the structures are probably not built the best for stability.“

This week Ekin plans to give 10% of her sales to help support the people in Turkey.

“Roads are uprooted. There are 2,300 buildings that have collapsed. We’ve lost a lot of historic artifacts and archaeological sites,” Ekin said.

Irreplaceable relics of history, now in ruins.

“Buildings can be replaced,” she said. “People can heal, and mend. But the history… I think that’s the hardest.”

A seismologist at the University of Utah showed us the seismograms created by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and the 7.5 aftershock. Jamie Farrell said this magnitude 7.8 earthquake is about 163 times larger than the 5.7 earthquake that rattled Magna in March 2020. In terms of the damage potential, the comparison is off the charts.

Jamie Farrell, a seismologist at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, points out the seismograms made by the quake in Turkey.

“If you look at the total amount of energy released, or how much shaking you would feel, it’s about 1400 times the size of that earthquake,” Farrell said. “In other words, we would have to have 1,400 5.7 Magna-sized earthquakes to equal the amount of energy that was released in this one 7.8.”

The seismologist emphasized that this quake is a good reminder to Utahns who live in earthquake country to always be prepared.

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‘It’s devastating:’ Utahn born in Turkey expresses her concerns after 7.8 earthquake