M5.0 February 1st 2021 -> Greece or Turkey ?

Yesterday a M5.0 earthquake hit really close to a greek island… Yet, EMSC’s services such as LastQuake desplayed the information with a Turkish label… why ?

To identify and specify regions of the Earth where an earthquake might have occurred, our organization uses the Flinn-Engdhal Regionalization Method. This method is internationally authorized and it is at present the standard method when localizing earthquakes (learn more: Flinn–Engdahl regions - Wikipedia).

Concerning this specific case, yes the epicenter was located on a small greek island, yet, it was much felt in Greece and the area correponds to Turkey based on the Flinn-Engdhal method.

Two reasons exist on why we do not use a more detailed geographical naming scheme.

  • First, we do not have the workforce to implement a more detailed regionalization method, since covering the entire world would be a huge task.

  • Secondly, localizing an earthquake in real time can be challenging as the location accuracy is typically of a dozens of km. This means that if we had a very detailed regionalization scheme, the name of the region would change at every location update (that’s, quite often).

Finally, please be aware that we do receive the exact symmetrical complaint when the earthquake location seems to be located in the other country and that the epicenter is close to the border.

Receiving complaints from both sides is an indication that there is no bias, only an imperfect system.

I hope this explanations helps, if not do not hesitate to aks questions here, the LastQuakers community and I will be pleased to answer :grinning:
Stay safe,