On October 23, 2011, a magnitude of Mw 7.2 earthquake struck the Van province in eastern Turkey which caused approximately 600 life loss and 4,000 injured people. Although the recorded peak ground accelerations were relatively low (0.15–0.2 g) compared with that of other recent destructive Turkish earthquakes and the code-based design response spectrum, a large number of reinforced concrete buildings with 4–6 stories and non-engineered masonry buildings were either heavily damaged or collapsed in the region. Based on the post-earthquake technical inspections, the goal of this paper is to introduce major reasons for structural damages in the disaster area and to discuss these failures along with the approaches given in the design code which is renewed after August 17, 1999 Marmara Earthquake. Some remarkable lessons learned from earthquake-induced failures and damages specific to building construction techniques are presented in this paper.
Van earthquake Structural failures Reinforced concrete structures Masonry buildings