October 28th Observations from Van

October 29, 2011 by  
Filed under EERI Team Field Blog, General Information

After getting totally soaked up by a cold rain all day yesterday, we woke up for a sunny day. Due to the scarity of the avaliable vehicles and transportation need of a new dispatch of METU group, we stayed in Van. I have been drifted a way from the group for checking up the structural health of an apartment building as a favor to one of the proffessors in the 100th Year university. As a not very atypical example, his building at beginning appear to have only non-structural damage. But it came out that there is a heavy stair damage with a loss of about 50% of the section. Such type of damages with no clear sign from outside, but with seriously impaired members inside creates a difficult situation for  street type of damage surveys.

Construction practice in Van is very liberal about the ways of using hollow clay bricks. There is an another example below.

Hollow clay tile wall at the upper middle of the picture have a free height about 4 meters and length of 20 meters without any lintels or vertical supporting members.


Typically old stone masonry buildings in Van and Ercis show a good performance in the earthquake. Here is an example from Van.

2-story stone masonry building in Van

Since the earthquake happened about 13:50, there are eye witnesses of the collapsing buildings.  They claimed that some of the structures collapsed at the beginning of the base motion almost instantly. This is again an indication of very brittle structures. Here is an example.

RC building that is collapsed onto its 1st story.


For rest of the day with Ayhan Irfanoglu, we investigated the 100thYearUniversityMedicalSchool buildings. This complex is composed of 7 main hospital blocks with a 550-bed capacity. It is told that this is about one third of the hospital bed capacity in Van. Investigation resulted with widespread non-structural damage from light to severe but no structural damage. Blocks were built at different times. Older blocks were about 60 years old and newest one is about ten years old.



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