A powerful earthquake of Mw=7.0 hit the Aegean Sea last Friday, causing more than 60 fatalities and severe damage to the building stock of both Greece and Turkey. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the sea in-between the Greek island of Samos and the Turkish region of Izmir (37.91N, 26.84E). The tremor struck at a shallow depth of around 20km, making its impact very destructive. Many buildings collapsed or were severely damaged, especially in the Turkish part, claiming many lives and injuring thousands of people. Preliminary reports of the recorded ground motion indicate an exceptionally amplified acceleration spectra in the range of 0.4 – 0.7s, well over the seismic codes currently in force. Moreover, 900 aftershocks have been reported in just the 3 days following the main event – 42 of them with a magnitude greater than 4.0.
The damage that such earthquake events can cause to cultural heritage constructions falls within the field of research of the STAND4HERITAGE project. In truth, it is buildings that kill people and not earthquakes. Recently, the first publication of the S4H team addressed the performance of masonry buildings after a recent earthquake in the same region of the Aegean Sea. The commitment and duty of earthquake engineers only gets stronger after such events. As the rescue efforts in the debris proceed, our thoughts are with the people in the region.
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