To understand this more easily, let’s remember how an earthquake is generated. The outermost part of the Earth, which is known as the crust, can be imagined as a great spherical puzzle. Its pieces are the tectonic plates, but they are not still: they move in different directions pushed by the internal heat of the planet; and the point where the plates make contact with each other is known as a fault. On average, each of these faults moves between 3 and 6 centimeters per year at a speed that is imperceptible to humans. As the plates move, energy (stress is the technical word) accumulates at these faults. And when the rock does not resist the stresses that accumulate in the faults, it breaks, which produces an earthquake. Its magnitude depends on the energy that had accumulated and the size of the rupture in the fault in question. What happened in Turkey and in Syria (which, remember, are between the other three plates) is that a significant amount of energy was released on a fault, and that triggered the earthquake.