The United States Geological Survey has confirmed that a major earthquake measuring at 6.76-magnitude jolted the eastern part of Turkey on Friday. The quake, which hit the country at 8:55 p.m. local time, also triggered at least 15 aftershocks, the most severe of which was determined to be as high as 5.4-magnitude.

4 dead from quake so far

So far, Turkey's Ministry of the Interior has reported the event knocked down 10 buildings and left four people dead near Sivrice, a town in the province of Elazig. Seismic waves from the quake were traced to an area near the town, emitting from a spot six miles below the earth's surface.

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The USGS determined that the relatively shallow depth was responsible for heavy seismic activity that affected roughly 500,000. Communities in nearby Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria also reported shaking related to the quake. Initial reports had the quake measuring between 6.8 and 6.5

Turkish army put on alert

Search and rescue teams have since been mobilized by Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency to affected areas, including smaller rural villages which reported some damage, the extent of which is not yet known. The country's army has also been put on alert to help if necessary, said National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

The Friday quake was the second such incident to affect the country. On Thursday a 5.4-magnitude quake struck Mansia, a province in the western part of Turkey. The city of Ankara felt a smaller jolt registering at 4.5-magnitude.