Turkey and Earthquakes

I felt two earthquakes during my time in Istanbul.  Both were rolling or with a back and forth motion and not particularly concerning in the hotel that I was staying in near the Sultanahmet mosque.  The 11/12/99 earthquake was centered in the Bolu/Duzce area about 100 miles from Istanbul.  As you can see here the first TV reports that evening estimated it at a 6.5 magnitude.

The morning paper indicated it was being estimated at 7.2 and reports were coming in from the area:

Early estimates estimated the deaths at 200 with 2000 injured. TV showed many collapsed buildings and rescue efforts underway. I heard of no damage in Istanbul or the adjacent area.

On Nov. 14th, two days after the Duzce earthquake, I went to the area with the Istanbul University Geology Club.  This was one of two buses with the students. We first visited the Golyaka area where there was significant damage due to landsliding effects.  Cracks in roadway, buildings that were on the landslide scarps, a mosque on the scarp with its' minaret having fallen across the road, another house that was on a landslide scarp. This home may have been destroyed by the shaking, for I saw no evidence of a scarp associated with its collapse.  We saw fire coming from the ground, the young boys showed us with a piece of wood, the depth of the hole from which the fire was coming.  Methane from a former marsh that is adjacent to and apparently underlies this farmland was rising from the depths. Here is a dramatic water boil, when the young men placed a burning piece of paper over the boil it set it on fire.

This dock on the edge of this marsh, had been broken and dropped about 5 meters. The locals said that the water level in the marsh was significantly lower now than it had been. A TV crew takes the opportunity to interview one of our geologists.

In all of this the children of the area seem to be coping and there were structures which survived the shaking and the landslides.

We went to Duzce late in the evening to deliver supplies that the students had collected to the refugee camp.  There we were also able to see the extensive damage to the buildings of the area.One building was still being worked on because it was reported that a person was still alive under the concrete (we were pleased to hear that a lady was removed from this building later in the evening) The following three pictures are reminiscent of the Loma Prieta quake damage in San Francisco, picture one, picture two and picture 3 where the lower floors appear to have been poorly braced.

A BBC report

According to the IRIS earthquake site, the event occurred 16 h 57 min 20 sec and shockwaves from this earthquake were received in the San Francisco area at 17h 39min 56.3sec

On to Cappadocia