Quantitative evaluation of the damage to RC buildings caused by the 2023 southeast Turkey earthquake sequence

Pujol S., Bedirhanoglu I., Donmez C., Dowgala J. D., ERYILMAZ YILDIRIM M., Klaboe K., ...More

Earthquake Spectra, vol.40, no.1, pp.505-530, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/87552930231211208
  • Journal Name: Earthquake Spectra
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, Geobase, Metadex, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.505-530
  • Keywords: column index, drift, nonstructural damage, peak ground velocity, Priority index, wall index
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Data from 15 earthquakes that occurred in 12 different countries are presented showing that, without better drift control, structures built with building codes allowing large seismic drifts are likely to keep leaving a wide wake of damage ranging from cracked partitions to building overturning. Following the earthquake sequence affecting southeast Turkey in 2023, a team led by Committee 133 of the American Concrete Institute surveyed nearly 250 reinforced concrete buildings in the area extending from Antakya to Malatya. Buildings ranging from 2 to 16 stories were surveyed to assess their damage and evaluate the robustness of their structures in relation to overall stiffness, as measured by the relative cross-sectional areas of structural walls and columns. The majority of the buildings were estimated to have been built in the past 10 years. Yet, the structures surveyed were observed to have amounts of structural walls and columns comparable with amounts reported after the Erzincan (1992), Duzce (1999), and Bingol (2003) Earthquakes in Turkey. These amounts are, on average, much smaller than the wall and column amounts used in Chile and Japan. Because of that lack of robustness and given the intensities of the motions reported from Antakya to Malatya (with 10 stations with peak ground velocity (PGV) of 100 cm/s or more), it is concluded that structures in this region experienced large drifts. Excessive drift (1) exposed a myriad of construction and detailing problems leading to severe structural damage and collapse, (2) induced overturning caused by p-delta for some buildings, and (3) caused widespread damage to brittle masonry partitions. The main lesson is simple: ductility is necessary but not sufficient. It is urgent that seismic drift limits are tightened in high-seismicity regions worldwide.