When natural and technological disasters collide: Lessons from the Turkey earthquake of august 17, 1999

Laura J. Steinberg, Ana Maria Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Analysis of the effects of strong earthquakes on hazardous materials stored at industrial facilities in urban areas can provide valuable insights for future risk management practice. In this study, the experience of the heavily industrialized Kocaeli region of Turkey after the August 17, 1999, earthquake is reviewed. Nineteen industrial facilities are investigated. Some of the more catastrophic examples of hazardous materials releases investigated include these: the intentional release of 200,000 kg of hazardous anhydrous ammonia at a fertilizer plant; the leakage of 6.5 million kg of toxic acrylonitrile into air, soil, and water from ruptured tanks at a chemical company; and the enormous fires in the crude oil unit and naphtha tank farm, and liquid petroleum gas leakages and oil spills at the port terminal at an oil refinery. [This research shows that joint earthquake-technological disasters can be mitigated by creating chemical release emergency response plans which specifically incorporate conditions that typically follow a major earthquake. These plans would include consideration of the potential unavailability of water, electricity, and key response personnel; design of chemical release mitigation systems that can withstand earthquake forces; land use planning to prevent citizens from living within high-risk areas and seismic-resistant design and construction of tanks and piping containing hazardous materials.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-130
Number of pages10
JournalNatural Hazards Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Chemical spills
  • Disasters
  • Earthquake damage
  • Emergency services
  • Hazardous materials
  • Risk management
  • Seismic hazard
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'When natural and technological disasters collide: Lessons from the Turkey earthquake of august 17, 1999'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this