Damage in reinforced-concrete buildings during the 2011 Van, Turkey, earthquakes

Eray Baran*, Halit Cenan Mertol, Burcu Gunes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Two major earthquakes with magnitudes Mw=7.2 (ML=6.7) and ML=5.6 occurred in eastern Turkey on October 23 and November 19, 2011. The maximum measured peak ground accelerations for the two ground motions were 0.18g and 0.25g, respectively. The earthquakes resulted in various levels of damage to RC moment-resisting frame buildings ranging from minor cracking in brick partition walls to total collapse. This paper summarizes the field observations of the Atilim University Reconnaissance Team carried out in the region a few days after the two main shocks with an emphasis on the performance of RC buildings. A summary of the evolution of the Turkish seismic design code during the last 35 years is given, followed by an explanation of the behavior of RC buildings during the October 23 and November 9 earthquakes. The deformation types that were commonly observed in the heavily damaged or collapsed RC buildings include plastic hinging in columns attributable to stiffer beams, localization of damage in ground-story columns attributable to changes in the stiffness of the lateral load-resisting system caused by brick partition walls, and shear failure of columns caused by discontinuities in the partition walls adjacent to the columns. Poor concrete quality, inadequate development and lap splice length for reinforcement, and inadequate confinement in columns also contributed to the poor seismic behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-479
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Performance of Constructed Facilities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • Earthquake
  • Earthquake field observation
  • Reinforced concrete
  • Structural failure


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