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Failure: Minaret
Location: Meknes, Morocco
Year: 2010
Type: Collapse
Deaths: 41

Bab Berdieyinne Mosque suffered tragedy when the ceiling as well as part of the structural walls of its minaret collapsed into the courtyard on February 19, 2010 [a].

Officials blamed a series of heavy rains for weakening the structure just before the collapse [b], but further analysis revealed several characteristics that contributed to the minaret’s ultimate demise. The 400 year old mosque was composed of rammed earth, or man-made sedimentary rock, making it particularly sensitive to prolonged moisture exposure [c]. The foundation of the site lacked proper drainage, subjecting the structural walls to constant damp conditions—weakening their overall stability [d]. As seen in Figure 2 above, proof of further foundation instability could be seen by the slight tilt of the minaret [f]. In addition, the foundation had been described as insufficiently proportioned [e].

Officials had been criticized prior to the collapse for their negligence of the mosque; multiple cracks were visible in the exterior, one of which was estimated to be 10 meters long [e]. The Imam, or worship leader, of the mosque had requested the mosque be closed for a week for structural investigation but was denied [g].

Credit to Nour Bouhou for Arabic and French article translations.

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