Articles | Volume 13, issue 4
Research article
26 Apr 2013
Research article |  | 26 Apr 2013

Engineering geologic assessment of the slope movements and liquefaction failures of the 23 October 2011 Van earthquake (Mw= 7.2)

A. Karakaş, Ö. Coruk, and B. Doğan

Abstract. On 23 October 2011, a Mw = 7.2 earthquake occurred in the Van Province in eastern Turkey, killing 604 people. The earthquake was triggered by a thrust fault due to a compression stress in the region, and caused extensive damage over a large area. Many structures in the earthquake region collapsed, and the damage spread from the city of Van to the town of Erciş, in a distance of 60 km. The earthquake generated several slope movements and liquefaction failures in the region, and this study evaluates these processes from the perspective of engineering geology, and presents field and laboratory results related to these processes. Attenuation relationships were used for estimation of peak ground accelerations (PGAs), and an empirical liquefaction evaluation method employing ground accelerations was used to define threshold accelerations initiating the liquefaction.

The results demonstrate that landslides were widespread and more frequently observed in the field in comparison with earthflows and rockfalls. Flow-type liquefaction and lateral spreading was found to be widespread and more common than the liquefaction-related settlement. The minimum threshold acceleration value for the initiation of soil liquefaction was calculated to be 188.87 cm s−2 (~0.19 g) in the earthquake region. Laboratory results indicated that the soil liquefaction was closely associated with grain size. The slope instabilities, liquefaction and associated ground failures occurred mainly in rural areas, and their impact on structures was quite low as compared to the human loss and structural damage by the earthquake.