The Marmara, Turkey Earthquake of August 17, 1999: Reconnaissance Report
by George C. Lee
Director, Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research
Over the years, MCEER has supported many rapid surveys and reconnaissance visits to areas hit by severe earthquakes. Observations in the field as soon as possible following a major earthquake are one of the important ways in which vital data can be gathered and important lessons learned. In order to realize our vision of "earthquake resilient communities," these often tragic events must be investigated to validate our collective knowledge and to discover new insight into success stories and failures.
Our multidisciplinary team members conduct their reconnaissance visits primarily to support and foster knowledge development within MCEERs research program. The mission of the research program is to investigate how advanced and emerging technologies can be adapted and implemented to reduce earthquake hazards. Research efforts focus on development and calibration of loss estimation methodologies, damage evaluation, detection and response technologies, and development of retrofit strategies for critical facilities (such as lifelines, buildings and their contents, and bridges). The time period immediately following a destructive earthquake offers a critical window of opportunity to determine more closely the "weak links," reasons for failure or unacceptable performance, and to observe the success stories.
The observations and recommendations made by our team members are presented in this report, for the benefit of people in seismic regions throughout the world. Only by absorbing the technical and institutional lessons from these events, and then further developing our understanding and potential solutions in the laboratory and in our communities, can the potential for future tragedies be reduced.
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