EERI Sends Three Reconnaissance Teams to Turkey to Study Buildings, Hospitals, and Lifelines

EERI’s Learning From Earthquakes program continues to respond to the February 2023 Kahramanmaraş earthquake sequence affecting Turkey and Syria. Building on the work of the EERI-GEER advance reconnaissance team that traveled to Turkey last month, three additional reconnaissance teams departed this week to undertake more detailed studies of buildings, hospitals, and lifelines in the areas of southern Turkey impacted by the earthquakes. The overarching goal of the post-earthquake reconnaissance effort is to translate the observations and data into improved design and construction practices. Many of the findings are expected to result in recommendations for changes to building codes; seismic design guidelines; and design, construction, and inspection practices. Read on for more detail about each reconnaissance team, including members and research topics.

Buildings Reconnaissance Team

  • Team Lead: Halil Sezen, Ohio State University
  • Rupa Garai, SOM
  • Morgan Griffith, Exponent
  • Michael Mieler, ARUP
  • Bora Gencturk, University of Southern California
  • Parth Gudhka, IMEG

The Buildings Reconnaissance Team will focus on understanding the overall performance of the structures and systems in the affected regions including near fault regions and regions where the peak velocity was recorded to be 70 to more than 100 cm/sec. The team will collect data to learn from the structural performance of the buildings and other structures. While the main focus is on buildings performance, if/when there is opportunity, the team will also document and categorize the response of various buildings and structures including residential buildings; commercial buildings; industrial facilities; school buildings; government buildings; and historical, religious and monumental structures. Although the building stock in the area is mostly reinforced concrete, the team will also consider documenting performance of masonry or steel structures and strengthened structures.

Regarding structural performance, the team will study:

  1. Overall performance of different conventional systems.
  2. Correlation of structural damage with ground motion intensity.
  3. Evidence of foundation damage and probable cause including liquefaction.
  4. Scope and nature of damage to lateral force-resisting systems.
  5. Consequences of building drift, residual drift and P-delta effects.
  6. Critical elements affecting the performance of the structures (e.g., columns, shear walls, slab systems, beam-column joints, etc).

Hospitals Reconnaissance Team

  • Team Lead: Ali Sumer, California Department of Health Care Access and Information
  • Gordon Wray, Degenkolb
  • Maryann Phipps Estructure
  • Bret Lizundia, Rutherford & Chekene
  • Ali Roufegarinejad, Forell/Elsesser
  • Ricardo Henoch, SOM

The Hospital Reconnaissance Team will focus on both structural and nonstructural performance of affected hospitals. The team will collect data to identify what conditions allowed hospitals to continue to serve the community and which prevented the continuity of care. Of particular interest will be learning the impediments to functional recovery. The team will endeavor to identify which nonstructural systems were most vulnerable to damage and which, if any, prevented or delayed hospitals from reopening. As valuable as it is to study damage, it equally important to understand the conditions that allowed hospitals to quickly return to service.

Regarding structural performance, the team will study:

  1. Performance of base-isolated hospitals versus conventional systems.
  2. Correlation of structural damage with ground motion intensity.
  3. Evidence of foundation damage and probable cause.
  4. Scope and nature of damage to lateral force-resisting systems.
  5. Consequences of building drift.

Regarding nonstructural performance, the team will gather data to examine the following systems: fire protection systems; cladding; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing equipment; distribution systems (piping, ductwork, and conduit); data systems; interior architectural systems (including ceilings and partitions); medical equipment; and lifelines (water, power, etc.).

Lifelines Reconnaissance Team

  • Team Lead: Riccardo Cappa, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
  • Ezra Jampole, Exponent
  • Esam Abraham, Southern California Edison
  • Menzer Pehlivan, Jacobs
  • Brad Wham, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Brent Chancellor, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates
  • Robert Kraus, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates
  • Jeff Hunt, Exponent
  • Onder Akinci, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

The Lifelines Reconnaissance Team will focus on both structural and nonstructural performance of affected infrastructure that facilitates the functioning of society. Lifelines include bridges, roads, tunnels, railroads, metro and tram stations, airports, ports, dams, electrical transmission lines, substations, gas transmission lines, water pipes, chemical plants, and powerplants. The team will study both damaged and undamaged lifeline systems to understand the failure mechanisms that occur frequently and are most likely to occur again, as well as lifelines that experienced little to no damage, to ascertain what properties of those lifelines (or the soils beneath them) made them less vulnerable to the intense shaking.

The team will study:

  1. Performance and functionality of transportation infrastructure systems
  2. Functionality of power and water infrastructure, the assets within the systems that caused outages, and the type of failures that caused outages (e.g., ground failure vs. inertial forces)
  3. Structural and nonstructural damage patterns at industrial facilities,
  4. Correlation of damage with ground motion intensity.
  5. Properties of those lifelines that led to good performance during the earthquakes.

Members of the EERI reconnaissance teams will share their findings in a series of forthcoming webinars and reports and in a special session on April 11, 2023 at EERI’s 2023 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The EERI-GEER advance team members will participate in a reconnaissance briefing webinar on March 20, 2023. Find out more and register to attend here.

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Phone: 510-451-0905
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