Seismic, ground motion and geotechnical characteristics of the 2011 Van-Erciş and Van-Edremit earthquakes of Turkey, and assessment of geotechnical damages

  • Ömer Aydan
  • Reşat Ulusay
  • Halil Kumsar
Original Paper


Two devastating earthquakes with moment magnitudes of 7.2 and 5.6 occurred on October 23, 2011 (Van-Erciş earthquake) and November 9, 2011 (Van-Edremit earthquake), respectively, in the Van Province of the eastern Turkey. The Van-Erciş and Van-Edremit earthquakes caused 604 and 38 fatalities, respectively, and heavy damage to buildings and other structures, particularly in Erciş town and Van City. In this study, characteristics of both main shocks and their geotechnical aspects, such as local site conditions, liquefaction phenomena and associated ground deformations and slope failures are evaluated. The failures of slopes and embankments and rock falls and ground liquefaction may also be indications of diluted ground deformation caused by the earthquake fault. It seems that a wedge-like body bounded by two fault planes was uplifted. As a result of this movement, the northern shoreline of Van Lake uplifted. The November 9, 2011 Van-Edremit earthquake was triggered due to the variation of crustal stresses induced by the October 23, 2011 earthquake. The effects of local site conditions have contributed to the damage of some parts of Erciş city and its vicinity; however, the ground liquefaction was not observed in the city as anticipated. With a magnitude of 5.6, the Van-Edremit earthquake is probably the smallest magnitude earthquake to cause liquefaction in Turkey so far.


Van-Erciş earthquake Van-Edremit earthquake Liquefaction Lateral spreading Slope failure Geotechnical damage 



This study was supported by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE). The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to Prof. Kazuo Konagai of Tokyo University, Japan, for his kind contribution during the reconnaissance study and to Disaster-Information Network among JSCE, AIJ and JAEE (Chairman, Prof. K. Kawashima of Tokyo Institute of Technology). The authors sincerely acknowledge the information and guidance given by Dr. Ş. Öztürk during a reconnaissance visit to the earthquake-affected region and the information on some liquefied locations given by Dr. O. Köse from Yüzüncü Yıl University, and kind help on geotechnical laboratory experiments by Dr. İ. Çobanoğlu and S. B. Çelik, and Dr. E. Tuncay and Dr. E. Avşar from Pamukkale and Hacettepe Universities of Turkey, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Ocean Research and DevelopmentTokai UniversityShizuokaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Geological EngineeringHacettepe UniversityAnkaraTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Geological EngineeringPamukkale UniversityDenizliTurkey
  4. 4.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of the RyukyusOkinawaJapan

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