Earthquake Warning Technologies Applied in Turkey and Japan, 25th September 2014

About Seminar

Our purpose in organizing this event is to increase our awareness about earthquake warning technology. In view of this, we aim to obtain information about the application of these systems in our country and Japan. Japan experiences frequent earthquakes and is considered the world leader for technology related to this topic.

More than 30 percent of our country’s population lives in the Marmara region, accounting for nine percent of the area of the country and approximately 40 percent of the gross national production of the country. In 1999, an earthquake occurred in Izmit, Kocaeli in the Marmara region, damaging the country’s economic infrastructure and causing 6 million dollars in damage and nearly 20,000 casualties.

Similarly, the 1995 earthquake in Kobe in Japan caused 6,500 casualties and economic losses of 150 million dollars (2.5% of the gross national product) and is recorded in history as the most expensive earthquake. As with the Marmara region earthquake, the vast expenses resulted mainly from the intensive industrial area in and around the city of Kobe.

In particular, the massive 150 million dollar economic loss of the Kobe earthquake shows the requirement of earthquake warning systems for heavily populated areas and industrial facilities. The majority of the damage was not directly caused by the 20 second earthquake but caused by the earthquake triggering gas leakage, electric ignition, explosions, fire, human panic in high-rise buildings, and a number of other incidences based on secondary disasters. In Japan, many risk reduction strategies exist however these approaches are understood to be insufficient and the development of earthquake warning technology is essential.

In order to reduce the loss of life and protect our economic investments during an earthquake, it is essential to continue the development of new technology to create early-warning networks and stand-alone warning systems.


13:30-14:00: Registration – Welcome

14:00-14:05 Opening Remarks: Yusuf Zahit Gündoğdu
(Fuji Engineering Turkey, President)

14:05-14:25 Guest Speaker: Prof. Dr. Mustafa Erdik
(Bogazici University Kandilli Observatory And Earthquake Research Institute)
Istanbul Earthquake Early Warning and Rapid Information Systems

14:25-14:45 Guest Speaker: Prof. Dr. Hasan Boduroğlu
(Turkey Earthquake Foundation, Chairman of the Board)
Earthquakes and Awareness

14:45-15:05 Guest Speaker: Prof. Dr. Ali Pınar
(Bogazici University Kandilli Observatory And Earthquake Research Institute)
Kandilli Earthquake Research Center Conducted Marmara Region Early Warning System

15:05-15:25 Coffee Break

15:25-15:45 Guest Speaker: Dr. Fatih Sütçü
(Istanbul Technical University, Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Management Institute)
Japanese Meteorological Agency Disaster Warning System

15:45-16:05 Guest Speaker: Toshikazu Igarashi
(IMV Corporation Japan, Executive Board Member)
Applied General Earthquake Warning System in Japan

16:05-16:30 Closing Remarks: Yusuf Zahit Gündoğdu
(Fuji Engineering Turkey, President)
"Real-Time" Earthquake Warning Systems Implemented in Japan

16:30-17:00 Question – Answer

17:00-17:30 Coffee and Refreshments


Program Speakers

Fuji Engineering Turkey, President

Yusuf Zahit Gündoğdu finished his education in the Department of Civil Engineering at Yildiz Technical University in 1985 and later received his master’s degree from Bogazici University in 1988. During his 29 year career, Gündoğdu has managed or directly engineered many projects. He has experience in overseas work, including East Asia, Western Asia and Russia. He also worked in Japan for a span of seven years from 1992-1999, during which he was involved in many retrofit projects in the aftermath of the Kobe Earthquake. In the context of high-performance engineering, he has experience in the design of high-rise buildings, bridges and coastal structures along with strengthening of existing structures.

Bogazici University Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute

After graduating from Middle East Technical University in Civil Engineering in 1970, Prof. Dr. Mustafa Erdik completed his masters and doctorate in the United States at Rice University from 1972-1975. He is the author of more than 300 technical papers and is the author or co-author of 6 books.  He has received many international awards, including the TÜBİTAK Science Award, the NATO Summit Science Prize, UN-Sasakawa Prevention of Disasters Award, and the SSA-EERI-COSMOS organizations jointly presented him with the Bruce Bolt Award.

Turkey Earthquake Foundation, Chairman of the Board

After receiving his master’s degree from Robert College’s Graduate Studies Program in Civil Engineering in 1967, Prof. Dr. M. Hasan Boduroğlu (1944) completed his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Denver. Between the years 1985 and 1991, he was the Civil Engineering Faculty Dean for Istanbul Technical University and from 2003-2011 he served as the Coordinator for the Civil Engineering Dual Degree Program at the ITU-SUNY University of Buffalo. Since 2004, he has been the Chairman of the Board for the Turkey Earthquake Foundation.

Bogazici University Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, Department of Earthquake Engineering

Prof. Dr. Ali Pınar (1961) completed his graduate studies in the Department of Geophysical Engineering at Istanbul University in 1986. In 1995, he completed his doctoral thesis entitled “Monitoring Large Earthquake Rupture Process” at the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute. From 2000-2012, he served as a lecturer at Istanbul University. Since 2012, he continues to work on Earthquake Early Warning Systems at the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute in the Department of Earthquake Engineering.

Istanbul Technical University, Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Management Institute

Dr. Fatih Sütçü (1979) received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Earthquake Engineering from Yildiz Technical University and received his master’s degree from Istanbul Technical University. In 2007 he completed his doctorate at the Tohoku University in Japan. From 2012-2013 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, he carried out research and experiments using innovative methods for earthquake-resistant design and strengthening of existing structures. Currently he is working at Istanbul Technical University, Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Management Institute.

IMV Corporation Japan, Executive Board Member

In 1975, Toshikazu Igarashi began to work for Kanematsu Corporation found in Central Japan. Between the years of 1975 and 1999, he worked in Calgary Canada, London England and Japan, respectively, as a sales manager. From 2000-2008, he worked as a marketing manager at SKF in Japan. Since 2008, he has been the Executive Board Member for the global market for IMV Corporation.

Speech Summaries

In his opening speech of the conference, President of Fuji Engineering, Yusuf Zahit Gündoğdu, who organized this event along with Japan, discussed the purpose of this conference as to provide people and institutions with information about earthquake warning systems implementation in Turkey. Gündoğdu, having experienced the 1999 Izmit earthquake in Kocaeli, mentioned the casualties caused by the earthquake. Yusuf Zahit Gündoğdu discussed the potential for reduction of casualties and economic loss during an earthquake in areas containing high population and many industrial plants by drawing attention to the necessity for an earthquake warning system, saying “In order to reduce the loss of life and protect our economic investments during an earthquake, it is essential to continue the development of new technology to create early-warning networks and stand-alone warning systems”.
For the closing remarks, President of Fuji Engineering, Yusuf Zahit Gündoğdu once again came to the podium to draw attention to the effects of secondary disasters caused by earthquakes and conveyed proper measures can be taken with the implementation of real-time alerts. Gündoğdu underlines that people may not be able to take immediate action, saying “During an earthquake, taking control or command is hard to do and may even be impossible. Therefore, in the moment of an earthquake, immediate intervention and action is vital to the prevention of secondary disasters after the earthquake”. Gündoğdu states that “With real-time warning systems, critical functions are stopped and it is possible to prevent secondary disasters”.
Dr. S. Ümit Dikmen, Associate Professor of the Department of Earthquake Engineering at Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, gave a presentation entitled “Istanbul Earthquake Early Warning and Rapid Information Systems”. Dikmen underlined that the placement of 100 sensitive earthquake sensors in Istanbul, as is thought with earthquake early warning systems, gives prior notice of an earthquake and provides an early exit from the building. Dikmen also noted that during an earthquake, early warning systems aim to prevent greater dangers by stopping electrical, natural gas and similar disasters.

Dikmen described the Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness Capacity Enhancement Project (ISMEP). As a priority, the seismic risk conditions of significant public buildings are to be examined and according to the examination, the buildings will be strengthened or demolished and rebuilt. With this system, Dikmen emphasized that the damage of a building can be predicted and he iterated which building and how it will need early intervention is known. The seismic movements of high-rise buildings and industrial plants can be controlled by placing recording devices, states Dikmen, and the records taken from the devices after an earthquake detail the necessary interventions.

Cultural history buildings are also subject to this monitoring, including Hagia Sophia, Suleiman Mosque, Fatih Mosque, Mihrimah Sultan Mosque and the Blue Mosque, noted Dikmen. He also mentioned the third Bosphorus Bridge under construction along with the two existing bridges will also be earthquake monitored.

Dikmen also expressed that the Marmaray will be monitored, with recording devices placed at the beginning and end of each tube underwater.
Turkey Earthquake Foundation, Chairman of the Board Prof. Dr. Hasan Boduroğlu gave a presentation called “Earthquakes and Awareness”. Boduroğlu touched on this topic, saying it is necessary to be conscious of the risks and effects of an expected major earthquake in an area. Boduroğlu said “Above all else, are we aware of this risk? The risk could relate to our homes and our workplaces. Additionally, schools, hospitals and similar buildings that we use may be at risk”.

Indicating that even an earthquake resistant building has the potential to collapse, Boduroğlu drew attention to non-structural hazards. He stated “We aren’t actually ‘aware’ of the danger we are in”; the death and injury of “buildings” first comes to mind. When a building collapses, the source of danger arises from the objects within the building, explained Boduroğlu, emphasizing the importance of determining possible risks and making necessary preparations. Before an earthquake, information about what to do during and after an earthquake should be provided; “Don’t be afraid of earthquakes, learn about them” Boduroğlu expressed to the audience.
Bogazici University Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute’s Prof. Dr. Ali Pınar shared information in his presentation about the Marmara Region Earthquake Warning System conducted at the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Center. When comparing regional and onsite earthquake warning systems, Pınar indicated that in areas close to the earthquake zone, the onsite system should be preferred and in more remote locations, the regional system should be preferred.
Pınar gave information about the seismic network used in the Kandilli Observatory onsite earthquake warning studies and later mentioned the observatory’s regional earthquake early warning algorithms VIRTUAL Seismologist (VS), Presto and ElarmS.

Prof. Dr. Ali Pınar pointed out that in general, earthquake early warning systems consider short and rigid structures. The majority of seismic energy is carried through long period waves, therefore even earthquakes occurring far away still put high-rise buildings at risk, Pınar underlined. Every year, the number of long period and high-rise buildings in Istanbul is increasing; “Therefore, it is especially important to work on regional earthquake warning systems to reduce the impact of earthquakes occurring from a distance” emphasized Pınar.
Dr. Fatih Sütçü, of Istanbul Technical University, Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Management Institute, gave a speech entitled “Japanese Meteorological Agency Disaster Warning System / Japanese Earthquake Early Warning System Observations”. Dr. Fatih Sütçü completed his doctoral studies at Tohoku University between the years 2003 and 2006, and later transferred to Tokyo Institute of Technology to conduct his post-doctoral work in strengthening structures following the disastrous Fukushima earthquake on March 11, 2011. According to Sütçü’s findings after transferring, both Tohoku University and Tokyo Institute of Technology use buckling restrained braces (BRB) at the façades as strengthening when designing isolated buildings.

Dr. Fatih Sütçü continued his presentation, giving information about earthquakes and early warning systems of the Japanese Meteorological Agency. Earthquake signals are collected for the Early Warning System by the Japanese Meteorological Agency and then processed in four second lengths through algorithms to determine if the signals are earthquake waves. This information is transferred to the Early Warning System and is then alerted to concerned individuals and entities, explained Sütçü. The early warning consists of two measures: the first priority warning report is intended for schools, hospitals, factories, etc., and the second emergency earthquake alert is made known for the public.
IMV Corporation Japan, Thermal and Nuclear Plant System Reinforcement Measuring Instrument Expert, Kenji Akiyoshi presented about the tripartite Japanese earthquake strategy. No one can predict the size of an earthquake; the great disaster caused by the 1995 Kobe Earthquake spurred the renewal of seismic retrofit strategies in Japan, Akiyoshi noted. He mentioned the adoption of the approach to lower losses during and after the earthquake. The three-way system consisting of early warning systems, seismic monitoring networks and earthquake measuring devices all working together, indicated Akiyoshi, can compensate for any disruption that can be experienced, as should an ideal system perform. Akiyoshi underlined the importance of early warning systems to ensure the size of disasters do not increase, especially for industrial buildings, water storage areas such as dams, and power plants. In this sense, he emphasized the vital importance of earthquake observation devices.