Japanese quake engineering expert conducting survey in southern Turkey

A Japanese earthquake engineering expert has started conducting a field study in southern Turkey, nearly one month after powerful quakes hit the region.

Mori Shinichiro is a project professor at Ehime University in western Japan. He visited quake-hit areas in southern Turkey on Saturday.

In the town of Nurdagi, which is near the epicenter, Mori observed a major shift in the land's surface that was caused by the earthquake. It appears that the ground shifted vertically and horizontally.

The professor also questioned survivors about the kinds of jolts they felt when the quakes occurred.

In Antakya, one of the hardest-hit cities, Mori surveyed a damaged bridge that crosses a river. The river runs through the city center.

Mori said it is possible that a seismic wave with a cycle of up to two seconds, called a "killer pulse," caused extensive damage to buildings.

He inspected one building, whose first floor had collapsed. To check its strength, he hammered the pillars.

Mori said buildings that were not sufficiently earthquake resistant were severely damaged.

He said people in Japan should be aware that the country's old buildings, which were built in accordance with old quake-proof standards, could sustain similar kinds of damage, if a major earthquake occurs.

Mori said that he will continue to conduct his field study through Tuesday. He added that he will report his findings, after he returns to Japan.

On February 6, a magnitude 7.8 quake hit southern Turkey, near the Syrian border.

The quake and subsequent tremors killed more than 51,000 people in Turkey and Syria. Over 200,000 houses and buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged in Turkey alone.