Prof. Dr. Aykut Barka Passenger Boat

Istanbul, Turkey | C.1973

Photo Credit: Luke Vorster

Bearing the name of one of Turkey’s most well-respected geologists, the Prof. Dr. Aykut Barka Passenger Boat is a ferry that navigates the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara to transport passengers between Istanbul and nearby Princes’ Islands.

Born in 1951 in Istanbul, Aykut Barka graduated from Istanbul University, earned his Master’s Degree in the Department of Geological Engineering, and later received his doctorate from Bristol University in 1981. Dr. Barka quickly gained an international reputation for his work in the earth sciences, especially his focus on the North Anatolian Fault (NAF).

The NAF is one of the most dangerous active fault lines in the world. Stretching across northern Turkey and into the Aegean Sea, the NAF runs along the boundary between the Earth’s Eurasian Plate and the Anatolian Plate. It is also considered very similar to the San Andreas Fault in California.

On August 17, 1999, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck along the western portion of the North Anatolian Fault. Known as the İzmit earthquake, the event lasted 37 seconds, severely damaging the city of İzmit. Just two years before, Dr. Barka had actually identified the risks associated with the NAF, essentially predicting the earthquake. From then on, he served as Turkey’s earthquake expert until his untimely death in 2002.

First built in 1973, the Passenger Boat now holds Dr. Barka’s name, given in memory of the great geologist after his death. Traveling throughout Turkey’s major waterways to and from Istanbul, the Boat carries passengers among the land and seas that Dr. Barka devoted his life to studying.

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