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What lessons can be learned from the deadly Turkey and Syria quakes for our region’s earthquake preparedness?

Robb Moss
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Professor Robb Moss traveled to Turkey in the aftermath of the recent deadly quakes to gather data

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake last month in Turkey, has become one of the deadliest natural disasters of the century, and a Central Coast University professor traveled to the country to find answers in the aftermath.

The powerful earthquakes that devastated parts of Turkey and Syria last month may bring new insights to a very similar seismic zone – California.

"The staggering loss of life in Turkey is almost wholly due to the lack of enforcement of building codes," explained Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Civil Engineering Professor Robb Moss.

He travelled to Turkey as the lead investigator for the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association team in the aftermath of the deadly quake.

He found lessons to be learned in the devastation, which can benefit other regions at risk of powerful earthquakes - like California, and some stark differences in preparedness.

"Turkey has good building codes but they have an issue with not enforcing the building codes. In California we have good building codes and we enforce it," explained Moss to KCLU.

"So one of the lessons is that the enforcement of building codes results in saving lives," he said.

Moss will share details of his reconnaissance and the implications for Turkey and the broader seismic community, during a special free presentation on Wednesday from 6:40 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, in the Advanced Technology Laboratories building (No. 7) at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The free event is open to the public and will include a discussion, slideshow and time for questions.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022.

Since joining the station she's won 7 Golden Mike Awards, 4 Los Angeles Press Club Awards and 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.