Earthquake hazard and damage on traditional rural structures in Turkey
Abstract. During the last earthquakes in Turkey, reinforced concrete structures in the cities and masonry structures in the rural part were exposed to damage and failure. Masonry houses such as earthen, brick and stone structures are composed of building blocks with weak inter-binding action which have low tension capacity. Bending and shear forces generate tensile stresses which cannot be well tolerated. In this paper, the performance of masonry structures during recent earthquakes in Turkey is discussed with illustrative photographs taken after earthquakes. The followings are the main weakness in the materials and unreinforced masonry constructions and other reasons for the extensive damage of masonry buildings. Very low tensile and shear strength particularly with poor mortar, brittle behaviour in tension as well as compression, stress concentration at corners of windows and doors, overall unsymmetry in plan and elevation of building, unsymmetry due to imbalance in the sizes and positions of walls and openings in the walls, defects in construction such as use of substandard materials, unfilled joints between bricks, not-plump walls, improper bonding between walls at right angles etc.