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Desperate Search to Find Turkey Earthquake Survivors

ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images(ISTANBUL, Turkey) -- Aftershocks as strong as magnitude 6.0 rocked Turkey into the night, following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit eastern Turkey earlier Sunday, leveling dozens of buildings and leaving more than 200 people dead.

As many as 100 aftershocks were recorded after the initial temblor, including at least four of magnitude 5.1 or greater throughout the day.

With the death toll expected to climb dramatically, rescuers frantically searched for survivors in Van and Ercis, two of the hardest hit cities near Iran's western border.

Crews are using whatever heavy equipment is available to dig people out from under the rubble with family and friends of victims resorting to using shovels and their own hands to sort through fallen debris.

The quake, which struck the region at 1:41 p.m. local time, was upgraded from a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 to 7.3 magnitude.  The U.S. Geological Survey later revised the magnitude to 7.2.

The depth of the epicenter was considered shallow -- 12.4 miles, shallower than the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010 -- and more potentially destructive, combined with the poor building codes in the region.

Earthquakes and seismic activity are nothing new to Turkey, as the area is riddled with faults, but the USGS said Sunday's quake is the biggest to hit in the region in more than four decades.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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