ANKARA, Türkiye — The last time the Contiguous United States had an earthquake of the magnitude of the earthquake in Turkey Sunday night was almost exactly 212 years ago on Feb. 7 in 1812 where a 7.9 magnitude earthquake occurred in New Madrid, Missouri.
There are actually around a million earthquakes every year across the globe but the majority of them are so weak that they are usually not felt.
Earthquakes over a three are often felt but damage is normally not likely.
But with each increase on the scale there is an exponential increase energy released.
For example, a magnitude 4 quake exerts roughly 33,000 pounds of explosives where a magnitude 6 quake is equivalent to roughly 33 million pounds of explosives.
The major earthquake that took place near Southeast Turkey near the Syrian border late Sunday night has caused severe damage across the area as a 7.8 magnitude quake, which is closer to 33 billion pounds of explosives.
This was caused by the Arabian tectonic plate moving northwards and grinding against the Anatolian plate. Tectonic plates are roughly 80-120 miles below the surface. At this distance you are actually closer to the edge of space than you are to the bottom on a continental plate.
Since the major quake, there have been dozens of aftershocks including another major 7.5 magnitude earthquake. The deadly quake is one of the most powerful to hit turkey in the past 100 years.