GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — We usually try to keep these “Max’s Mad Laboratory” light and fun. This time, we’re going to talk about something more serious. That’s the tragic earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria.

There has been destruction as far as the eye can see. Entire blocks of apartment buildings have been demolished and towns have been wiped off the map. That’s what Turkey and Syria looked like after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake and hundreds of subsequent aftershocks rocked the region.

Tens of thousands of families have been reeling from the disaster, and many are left with the question of why.

Turkey lies at the center of three tectonic plates, Anatolian, Arabian and African. The East Anatolian fault, where the Anatolian and Arabian sections of the earth’s crust grind against each other, is what’s known as a strike-slip fault.

When enough pressure builds, the plates slip horizontally, causing an earthquake. Perhaps the most famous strike-slip fault is the San Andreas in California, which scientists have warned is long overdue for a major quake.

As Turkey and Syria dig out, there are some signs of hope amidst unimaginable tragedy. A baby in Syria was born under the ruble and is expected to survive. The crowd of rescuers cheered as an entire family was pulled from under the debris, alive after two days. The human spirit shines through, with rescuers continuing to look for any signs of life.

The earthquake quickly turned into a humanitarian crisis with millions of people left homeless. North Carolina isn’t near any active fault lines, but there are questions about how prepared the US is to handle a similar-sized earthquake.