Turkish earthquake deaths were preventable

Sep 13, 2005

Purdue University scientists analyzed the 2003 Turkish earthquake and concluded the deaths of 168 people, many of them children, could have been prevented.

The report, recently prepared for the National Science Foundation, details how the quake caused extensive damage to 180 buildings, including 48 schools and four dormitories in the eastern Turkish city of Bingol.

Although Turkey has modern building codes, the report concluded: "There is a striking gap between the requirements of these codes and actual construction practice -- both in the rural and the urban areas."

Engineering professors Mete Sozen and Julio Ramirez said the school buildings that failed had a feature called captive columns.

"This occurs when you build a reinforced-concrete column, which is nice and slender, and then you build a wall right next to the column, but not as high as the column," said Sozen. "That makes the unsupported portion of the column very rigid and brittle so that earthquake forces concentrate on the column, causing it to break."

After one column breaks, the weight of the building causes the remaining columns to collapse, he added.

The 6.4 magnitude Bingol earthquake struck in a region where the North and East Anatolian Faults converge.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Testing to diagnose power event in Mars rover

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

'Planck' puts Einstein to the test

1 hour ago

Researchers, including physicists from Heidelberg University, have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analysing data from the "Planck" satellite mission of the European ...

Distant supernova split four ways by gravitational lens

1 hour ago

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes.

Testing to diagnose power event in Mars rover

7 hours ago

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is expected to remain stationary for several days of engineering analysis following an onboard fault-protection action on Feb. 27 that halted a process of transferring sample material ...

ESA experts assess risk from exploded satellite

8 hours ago

After studying the recent explosive break-up of a US satellite, ESA space debris experts have concluded this event does not increase the collision risk to nearby ESA missions in any meaningful way.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.