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Kobe Earthquake - A Case Study.

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It was 5.46am on January 17th 1995; many who lived in the port town of Kobe were still in bed, when the largest earthquake since 1923 when Tokyo was devastated and 142,000 where killed. It measured 7.2 on the Richter scale but it was not only the sheer force of the quake with the epicentre only 20km away it resulted in the destruction of many buildings and the loss of numerous lives. Kobe is positioned on the margin of the Eurasian Plate where the Philippine Sea Plate is subducted below. Immediately south of Osaka Bay is the fault Median Tectonic Line, and it was sudden movement along this fault that triggered the earthquake that hit Kobe, and devastated so many lives. The area around Kobe is built on soft and easily moved rocks, in particular the port itself, which is built on reclaimed ground. ...read more.


Emergency aid for the city needed to use these routes, but many of them were destroyed during the earthquake. Gas and electricity supplies were also damaged, like most cities, services like water, gas, electricity and sewerage were provided through a system of underground pipes and cables, and when the ground began to shake, the more rigid pipes weren't able to move as well so they split. Almost three quarters of the water supply across the entire city was cut off, gas pipes leaked gas into the air, and sewers discharged their contents into the streets. Against the fire fighters best efforts there were at least a dozen major fires that burned for up to two whole days before they were brought under control. And research has suggested that 500 deaths were due to fires, and that almost 7000 buildings were destroyed by fire alone. ...read more.


Four times a year the school children of Japan are put through earthquake and fire drills and kits for use during an earthquake can be bought from department store (these kits include a bucket-for fires, bottled water, food, radio, torch, first aid kit and protective head gear.) The government has also made a disaster prevention day every year on the 1st of September were companies and families alike can learn new and better way to act during an earthquake which could save lives this day also marks the day of the Kanto earthquake in Tokyo. As I have mentioned earlier trying to predict an earthquake is very difficult, but with careful observation of the key areas, even a few minutes of notice can save lives, such method as measuring the amounts of radon gas emitted, also changes in ground levels, and monitoring the accumulation of strain along the fault can all suggest an earthquake. ...read more.

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