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On Tuesday, January 17, at 5:46 a.m. local time, an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 (Richter scale) struck the region of Kobe and Osaka in south-central Japan.

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Introduction

On Tuesday, January 17, at 5:46 a.m. local time, an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 (Richter scale) struck the region of Kobe and Osaka in south-central Japan. This region is Japan's second-most populated and industrialized area, after Tokyo, with a total population of about 10 million. The shock occurred at a shallow depth on a fault running from Awaji Island through the city of Kobe, which in itself has a population of about 1.5 million. This was an unsuspecting city, scientist had doubted a big earthquake there since it was quite a distance from the point were the three-plate boundaries meet. Strong ground shaking lasted for about 20 seconds and caused severe damage over a large very area. Nearly 5,500 deaths were confirmed, with the number of injured people reaching about 35,000. Nearly 180,000 buildings were badly damaged or destroyed, and officials estimate that more than 300,000 people were homeless on the night of the earthquake. The life loss caused by the earthquake was the worst in Japan since the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, when about 140,000 people were killed, mostly by the post-earthquake conflagration. The economic loss from the 1995 earthquake may be the largest ever caused by a natural disaster in modern times. The direct damage caused by the shaking is estimated at over �13 trillion (about U.S.$147 billion). This does not include indirect economic effects from loss of life, business interruption, and loss of production. ...read more.

Middle

Typically, the sidewalks of such buildings would settle 50 centimetres or more, but there would be no apparent damage to the buildings themselves. The same was generally true for newer highway structures supported on piles. However, the strong shaking may have exceeded the capacity of many pile foundations supporting elevated expressway and bridge piers, causing tilting which was observed to be as much as 2 meters. This often contributed to damage or collapse of the structures. This is an example of one building falling where a newer building says upright with little damage. Transportation One of the most disturbing aspects of the earthquake was the severe, extensive damage to the transportation system. Kobe wasn't have the facility to let the much need help enter Kobe because of the earthquake's damage to highways, bridges, and rail systems resulting in major congestion and greatly impeded relief efforts. Many of these surface streets were also unusable, blocked by debris from collapsed structures and damaged by ground settlement. Forced use of alternative road or rail lines added hours to normally short trips. Damage to the transportation system had the potential to contribute greatly to the number of fatalities. Had the earthquake occurred during rush hour, there would have been many hundreds of fatalities on collapsed freeways, and numerous crowded trains would have derailed, in some cases plunging onto city streets. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gas The gas system had at least 1,400 breaks in its underground distribution system, primarily at service lines, with general curtailment of service by Osaka Gas Company to 834,000 households. Japanese buildings and homes have automatic gas shutoff systems, but many failed to work because of building collapses, other building damage, and broken pipes. The population in the heavily impacted areas was also notified to expect no gas service for about two months. Also, with the broken gas pipes spewing out gas, all it needed was a spark to set the either city alight, which is what happened, the fire spread quickly causing lots more damage after the earthquake had finished, this was made worse with the rubble impeding the fire-fighters from putting out the fire. Tectonic Activity Kobe is located farther than many other cities in Japan from the dangerous three tectonic plates (the Pacific, Eurasian, and Philippine). This triple junction is a junction of three compressive subduction zones. Causing many earthquakes in Japan. This was also the cause of the Kobe earthquake. Time of day The time of day would have an effect on the impact as well, it shook the ground at 5:40 in the morning, that means people would just be getting up so everyone would be indoors. If everyone was indoors the collapsing buildings would be full of people, adding to the death toll. People cooking breakfast would set alight the gas that was leaking out about the city after the earthquake. This is probably what caused the fire in many places ...read more.

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