Turkey has, alas, experienced two destructive earthquakes on August 17 and November 12, 1999 in Gölcük (Mw=7.4) and Düzce (Mw=7.1), which were the most devastating earthquakes that the nation has experienced in recent years. The lessons to be learned from these destructions have not yet been taken seriously in terms of education, research, and public awareness. We have not yet been educated and trained enough in order to be prepared for the next possible natural disasters to be faced. However, there have been some positive responses in the community.
This meeting is one amongst many to take place not only to meet exchanging idea among the scientists, since the Marmara earthquakes, but also to advance our understanding in the direction of present-day urgent societal problem; why and when earthquakes occur. As the Earth and Space Sciences Research Center of Kocaeli University, we feel that it is our duty to host this kind of scientific gatherings, and we are proud of finding this opportunity now.
Turkey is located on one of the most active tectonic lines and it suffers from strong earthquakes since historical times. The North Anatolian Fault Zone, the East Anatolian Fault Zone and extension of Aegean region are main tectonic features that are generating higher seismic activity and as well as causing great economical damage and human losses. The geodynamic evolution and plate interactions in the eastern Mediterranean region are quite complicated, and capable of producing moderate to large sized earthquakes. The Aegean Sea, and its surrounding coastal areas of western Turkey and Greece, is one of the most seismically active and rapidly deforming regions on the continents. Thus, Turkey offers a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of strike-slip faulting, crustal extension, seismicity, the complexities of continental collision, accretion and volcanism among other special topics in Earth sciences. Since last century Turkey faced about 80 moderate and strong earthquakes and more than 83,000 people lost their lives and 600,000 buildings have been damaged.
Among these earthquakes the 17th of August Kocaeli-Gölcük earthquake was not, although, the biggest earthquake in size and loss of human life in Turkish history and it was accepted as the highest impact to the community from all aspects. This earthquake affected more than 20 million people in the Marmara Region and causing more than 15 billion dollars damage to the Turkish economy. It is believed that such a large disaster effecting social life and economy in long terms especially for developing countries. Some economists believe that this event increased the inflation rate at least %5. After this event Turkish public realized the reality of earthquakes and how a natural phenomenon became a disaster if you do not care and do not take necessary precautions. Since then there have been many efforts in order to reduce and to prevent earthquake disasters. We believe that the earthquake reality always exists and we should educate public and pay attention to earthquakes and its effects. On the other hand, we also aware that large earthquakes creating economical, social and technical disturbances and also it combines different disciplines of Earth sciences and Engineering Sciences.
Our main philosophy for making such symposium is to bring all the scientists who are working on earthquakes together and exchange their knowledge and information. For this aim there were two national earthquake symposiums organized and held in Kocaeli in March 2003 and March 2005. Those symposiums were covering scientific papers and discussions from seismology, geophysics, geology, geodesy, civil and earthquake engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical and electronic engineering, environmental engineering, architectural sciences, medical doctors, lawyers, economists, journalists, search and rescue teams and their members, governors, mayors, firemen, NGOs and ordinary people in different sessions and panels.
We hope that this meeting will be very helpful to exchange information, ideas and results of broader range of scientists in between and try to cooperate for future common projects and research against earthquakes. We would like to welcome all scientists to join and support this meeting, encourage their students and young colleagues to participate in such a nice occasion. We will provide an unforgettable meeting not only with scientific content and quality but also friendly atmosphere, good Turkish cousine and warm Turkish hospitality. Hope to meet you in our symposium.
On behalf of the
Organizing and Executive Committee
Prof. Dr. Şerif Barış (Kocaeli University)