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The Marmara, Turkey Earthquake of August  17, 1999: Reconnaissance Report

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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 MCEER’s 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.




Section 1 Introduction
Charles Scawthorn, EQE International, Inc.
Section 2 Seismology
Apostolos Papageorgiou, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
2.1 Seismological Parameters
2.2 North Anatolian Fault Zone (NAFZ)
2.3 Fault Slip of the 1999 Marmara Earthquake
2.4 Similarities and Differences Between the North Anatolian Fault and the San Andreas Fault
2.5 Strong Motion Recordings
2.6 Conclusion
2.7 References
Section 3 Geotechnical Effects
James Mitchell, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Thomas Holzer, U.S. Geological Survey
3.1 Geological Setting
3.2 Ground Motions and Site Response
3.3 Soil Liquefaction
3.4 Landslides and Subsidence
3.5 Behavior of Building Foundations
3.6 Performance of Improved Ground and Earth Structures
3.7 Waterfront Structures
3.8 Geotechnical Effects on Transportation Systems
3.9 Conclusion
3.10 References
Section 4 Structural Damage
Michel Bruneau, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
4.1 Past Earthquake History and Damage
4.2 Building Characteristics and Building Codes
4.3 Structural Damage
4.3.1 Foundation Failures
4.3.2 Soft Stories
4.3.3 Strong Beams and Weak Columns
4.3.4 Lack of Column Confinement and Poor Detailing Practice
4.3.5 Miscellaneous
4.4 Damage to Steel Structures
4.5 Other Construction Types, Nonstructural Damage and Seismic Retrofit
4.6 Damage from Aftershocks
4.7 Lessons Learned and Conclusions
4.8 References
Section 5 Damage to the Transportation Infrastructure
John Mander, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
5.1 Damage to Highway Bridges
5.1.1 Collapse of the D650 E-80 Motorway Overpass
5.1.2 Collapsed Local River Bridge Near Akyazi
5.1.3 Damage to the E-80 Motorway Bridges over the Sakarya River
5.1.4 Damage to the D310 Overpass that Crosses the E-80 Motorway
5.1.5 Damage to Bridges on the D100 Highway
5.2 Damage to Roads
5.3 Damage to Railways
5.4 Damage to Port Facilities
5.5 Conclusion
Section 6 Performance of Industrial Facilities
Gayle S. Johnson, EQE International, Inc., Mark Aschheim, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Halil Sezen, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California, Berkeley
6.1 Types of Industry
6.1.1 Petrochemical Industry
6.1.2 Automobile Industry
6.2 Summary of Damage and Business Interruption
6.3 Tüpras Refinery Damage
6.3.1 Crude Unit and Stack Collapse
6.3.2 Port Damage and Oil Spill
6.4 Building Performance at Industrial Facilities
6.5 Performance of Non-Building Structures
6.6 Tank Damage
6.7 Equipment Damage
6.8 Other Fires
6.9 Summary
Section 7 Lifeline Performance
Charles Scawthorn, EQE International, Inc.
7.1 Water Systems
7.2 Wastewater
7.3 Electric System
7.4 Gas System
7.5 Summary and Lessons Learned
Section 8 Social, Political and Emergency Response
William Mitchell, Department of Political Science, Baylor University
8.1 Search and Rescue (Initial Response)
8.2 Brief Overview of Emergency Response
8.3 Casualties and Injuries
8.4 Medical Facilities
8.5 Mental Health Services
8.6 Displaced Persons
8.7 Turkish Red Crescent and Other Organizational Response
8.8 Media Response
8.9 Human Impact of the Destruction and Damage
8.10 Recommendations for Further Study
8.11 Conclusions
8.12 References
Section 9 Restoration Activities
Gary Webb, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware
9.1 Housing and the Earthquake
9.1.1 Estimating the Number of Homeless
9.1.2 Three Types of Tent Cities
9.1.3 Adjusting to Daily Living in the Tent Cities
9.2 Restoration of Education After the Earthquake
9.3 Health Care Facilities and the Earthquake
9.4 Concluding Remarks and Future Research Needs
9.5 References
Section 10 The Marmara Earthquake: A View from Space
Ronald Eguchi, ImageCat, Inc., Charles Huyck, EQE International, Inc., Bijan Houshmand, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California at Los Angeles, Babak Mansouri and Masanobu Shinozuka, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Southern California, Fumio Yamazaki and Masashi Matsuoka, Earthquake Disaster Mitigation Research Center, and Suha Ülgen, IMAGINS - TED
10.1 Purpose of the Trip
10.2 Itinerary
10.3 Field Investigations
10.3.1 New Technologies
10.3.2 Avcilar
10.3.3 Seymen
10.3.4 Adapazari
10.4 Summary



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 Institute’s (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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