Izmit Earthquake Facts

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  • 1. An earthquake of 7.4 on the Richter Scale struck the region around Izmit in Turkey on 17 th August 1999
  • 2. The area around Izmit is a centre of industry in Turkey. As a result, lots of people have moved to the area, and population densities are over 1000 people per km ²
  • 3. The earthquake struck at 3.01 am when most people were asleep in their beds.
  • 4. 600 apartments built by one contractor in the Izmit area collapsed.
  • 5. Many of the builders and contractors who built houses and other buildings in Izmit took short cuts to save money and time.
  • 6. The government regulations about making sure buildings can withstand earthquakes were often ignored in this part of Turkey.
  • 7. A fire at an oil refinery lasted for 3 days.
  • 8. It took 12 days to restore the electricity supply to the area.
  • 9. 60-70% of buildings near the plate boundary collapsed.
  • 10. Underground pipes and cables were broken.
  • 11. 15 000 people were killed by the disaster. A further 24 000 people were injured, and 600 000 people were made homeless.
  • 12. More than 1000 aftershocks shook Izmit after the quake. Some of them were strong enough to topple damaged buildings.
  • 13. Electricity supplies were disrupted.
  • 14. Tsunami flooded farmland on the coast, causing damage to crops.
  • 15. Izmit sits on the plate boundary between the Anatolian and the Eurasian plates. The Anatolian is a minor plate.
  • 16. People in Izmit have built many homes, factories and other buildings near to the plate boundary.
  • 17. Due to a lack of power, water pumping stations could not supply water, so many areas had no clean water after the earthquake.
  • 18. During the earthquake, dozens of buildings and bridges collapsed – many roads were damaged or blocked.
  • 19. Three days after the earthquake, local people were still using their bare hands to dig people out of the rubble.
  • 20. The earthquake was caused by the Anatolian plate and the Eurasian plate moving past each other.
  • 21. The ground shook for up to 45 seconds.
  • 22. Emergency services could not get through as roads were damaged.
  • 23. The rescue efforts by the emergency services were severely disrupted.
  • 24. Friction between the tectonic plates built up. The release of pressure caused the earthquake.