Local expert shares causes and insight on earthquakes that hit Syria and Turkey

Lucy Arendt is the Chair of the Federal Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazard Reduction
Lucy Arendt talks about why the Turkey-Syria quakes were so deadly and how to help the survivors
Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 5:03 PM CST
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De Pere, Wis. (WBAY) Life for millions across Turkey and Syria changed in an instant last Monday when two earthquakes caused major devastation. Lucy Arendt is a professor at St. Norbert College in De Pere. She is also the Chair of the Federal Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazard Reduction.

She noted that earthquakes happened on a slip strike fault; the rock on one side of the fault slipped in respect to the other.

Arendt says the intensity of the shaking and the lack of construction oversight caused widespread devastation. Laws in Turkey and Syria forgiving property owners for not keeping their building up to code also worsened the situation; there was no incentive for them to make sure the buildings were safe.

“One of the things we learned that hasn’t been highlighted in regular media is that part of what happened with these two earthquakes is one sort of triggers the other, because of the size and the speed of which they were moving along the fault lines is responsible for this catastrophe we’re observing,” she says.

Arendt also emphasized the importance of listening to experts’ advice, especially when it comes to strengthening construction. She believes it will pay off when an earthquake strikes in the U.S.

“Are there lessons we need to be learning in the United States here where we do need to make sure we have teams of learning to try to learn from this terrible tragedy? The answer is yes,” said Arendt.

Arendt also notes the ongoing research to predict earthquakes before they occur is looking promising.

If you’d like to help the victims, we have a link to a list of earthquake relief funds accredited by the Better Business Bureau here.

Lucy Arendt is on a federal advisory committee that aims to reduce deaths and injuries from earthquakes