The Marmara, Turkey Earthquake of August 17, 1999: Reconnaissance Report
Early in the morning of Tuesday, August 17, 1999, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck along the Anatolian fault in the northwestern region of Turkey. Epicentered approximately 11 km southeast of the industrial city of Izmit, the earthquake lasted 45 seconds and was felt over thousands of square miles in Turkeys most densely populated region. Commercial and residential buildings from Adapazari to Istanbul collapsed, resulting in large-scale loss of life. According to official government estimates (as of October 19, 1999), the earthquake killed over 17,000, and injured almost 44,000 people. Estimates of property losses (as of September 14, 1999) according to the World Bank range from $3 to $6.5 billion, which is equivalent to 1.5 to 3.3 percent of the Gross National Product of Turkey. It was the most devastating earthquake to strike Turkey since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake, which killed 30,000 people. According to official Turkish government estimates, the earthquake displaced more than 250,000 people. Approximately 120 tent cities were required for emergency housing. About 214,000 residential units and 30,500 business units were lightly to heavily damaged.
Within days, MCEER dispatched several researchers to the region - three of them simultaneously serving as part of the Earthquake Engineering Research Center (EERI) reconnaissance team - to examine the earthquakes impact. Their initial observations and impressions are reported in two publications, MCEER Response by M. Bruneau, J. Mander, W. Mitchell, A. Papageorgiou, C. Scawthorn and N. Sigaher, and in a Preliminary Report by C. Scawthorn. Both reports can be accessed from our web site at http://mceer.buffalo.edu/research/turkeyeq/default.asp.
MCEER sponsored a second reconnaissance trip to Turkey together with the Earthquake Disaster Mitigation (EDM) Research Center in Miki, Japan. Team members visited Turkey from September 28 to October 4 to conduct high level reconnaissance using satellite imagery, differential global positioning systems and in-field GPS-GIS interfaces. In addition, restoration activities already underway were observed and documented.
This report includes observations from both these reconnaissance trips. It is the product of many authors representing several disciplines and, while not a final assessment of the topics addressed, represents an interim earthquake engineering evaluation of the natural, built and social environments. As noted by several of the authors, the analogies between the North Anatolian Fault Zone in Turkey and the San Andreas Fault in the United States are strikingly similar. The observations and conclusions herein form a springboard for future collaborative research efforts, which will advance societys ability to better withstand the destruction caused by earthquakes throughout the world.
This report and the reconnaissance effort which made it possible are a collaborative effort between many investigators and institutions. Sponsorship of these activities was provided primarily by the Earthquake Engineering Research Centers Program of the National Science Foundation and the Federal Highway Administration through the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER). This support is gratefully acknowledged. Several of the authors were also members of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institutes (EERI) reconnaissance team, and/or the Geotechnical Reconnaissance team supported by the National Science Foundation.
The authors wish to collectively acknowledge the support and cooperation of the Turkish people who so willingly provided assistance during a very traumatic time. Many had the kindness and willingness to freely share information and provide access to damaged facilities.
The authors also wish to acknowledge the generous assistance of many organizations, agencies and individuals who made their visit possible and whose employees gave freely of their time and expertise. Some of these organizations and individuals are listed below and others are identified in the body of the report. They include:
Professor Ayse Akalin, Department of Sociology, Bogaziçi University
Mr. Rafael Alaluf, YESA, Istanbul
Mr. Ismail Baris, Mayor of Gölcük
Dr. Nesrin Basöz, K2 Technologies
Professor Faruk Birtek, Department of Sociology, Bogaziçi University
Mr. Serkan Bozkurt, IMAGINS
Dr. H.T. Durgunoglu, Zetas Earth Technology Corporation, Istanbul
Professor Mustafa Erdik, Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute
Mr. Fakir Erdogan, Turkish Electricity Generation-Transmission Corporation
Dr. Semih Ergintav, TÜBITAK
Dr. Polat Gülkan, Middle East Technical University
Mr. Gürsel Hanci, Safak Güvenlik
Mr. Marin Jordanov, EQE International, Sofia, Bulgaria
Professor Elif Kale, Department of Sociology, Bogaziçi University
T. Karadayilar, Zetas Earth Technology Corporation, Istanbul
C. Emren Öge, Zetas Earth Technology Corporation, Istanbul
Mr. Atilla Özdikmen, Alter Uluslararasi
Professor Nazmiye Özgüç, University of Istanbul
Mr. Baris Öztek, Birikim DA
Mr. Mike Price, Operations Manager, Izmit Water Project
Mr. Larry Roeder, U.S. State Department
Dr. Betlem Rosich, ESA/ESRIN
Mr. Turgay Türker, Türker Engineering
Mr. Kadri Vezirolu, Vice Mayor of the City of Izmit
Dr. M. Namik Yalçin, TÜBITAK
Dr. Hülya Yildirim, TÜBITAK
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