Izmit was a most fascinating earthquake. Located on the North Anatolian Fault, it was the latest domino to fall in the sequence. I found it quite interesting how these earthquakes have marched along the fault in an orderly manner.
Izmit totally went against the general rule that newer buildings fare better than old ones. One of the big surprises was the total devastation of modern structures. Although there was a very tough building code, it turned out that common practice was to have the designing engineer never leave the office! He just threw out the designs to the four winds!
Then some contractor picked them up, and used the finest French concrete, with coat hangers as reinforcement. Thus, all the buildings fell down. The earthquake also broke the rules about industrial facilities, since they were mostly devastated. The report did find buildings that were undamaged but these were well-built and on firm rock. Probably bank headquarters. :)
This earthquake showed that despite all the modern knowledge about earthquakes, it is possible to totally screw up. Hmmm, why does this sound familiar?