Earthquake in Turkey, February 2023

07 Feb 2023


A magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred in Turkey on Monday, February 6, 2023. The quake occurred in the early morning near the southeastern city of Gaziantep, causing devastating damage to the region in Turkey and neighboring Syria. Later in the day, a large aftershock measuring M7.5 occurred about 62 miles northeast of the first. There was extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure, with many buildings destroyed. The combined death toll for Turkey and Syria is currently over 40,000. An unknown number of people are trapped in fallen buildings and search and rescue is underway. The Turkish government has requested international assistance.

The earthquakes were particularly devastating for many reasons. The quakes were strong and shallow, producing intense shaking with long duration. The collapsed buildings shown in the media are largely mid-rise and high-rise. From a structural engineering perspective, a number of building features seem likely to have contributed to the observed failures and collapses. The failed buildings appear to be reinforced concrete frames with unreinforced masonry infills or concrete shear walls.  Columns appear poorly confined by reinforcement hoops, which would contribute to brittle failures of the columns in compression and shear.  Some of the buildings may have had soft and weak first stories, causing premature failure at the base of the building as seen in videos of collapses recorded by witnesses on cell phone videos. Given the extent of apparent damage combined with the fact that most people were at home when the first quake occurred, the death toll will be large.

For more information, visit the USGS  Earthquake Hazard Program webpage

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