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The Kobe Earthquake.

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INTRODUCTION On the 1st of September 1923 Japan suffered its worst ever natural disaster when an earthquake followed by a tidal wave and fire struck Tokyo. The effects were devastating, 99,331 people were killed and 103,733 people were injured. After this event took place every Japanese citizen was issued with a box of essentials in case another earthquake should strike. In addition to this, they were all given a small amount of training and, in more recent times, 500 researchers have been working to predict if and when this could happen again. Despite this, in 1995, an event took place that shocked observers worldwide. KOBE The South-central region of Japan is the second-most populated and industrialized area, after Tokyo, with a total population of about 10 million. Kobe on its own has a population of about 1.5 million and is very economically developed. Kobe is one of the richest cities in the world, producing as much wealth on its own as Canada! The Japanese built their houses traditionally out of wood here as wood was flexible and could bend with the ground if an earthquake took place. ...read more.


The maximum displacement point is shown in the photo left. The cost of repairing the city was roughly �100,000,000,000 (this does not include indirect economic effects from loss of life, business interruption, and loss of production). Its magnitude was 7.2 on the Richter scale. Most of the deaths were not caused by the earthquake itself, but by fires which easily set alight wooden houses (150 fires raged for days after the earthquake). CAUSES OF THE KOBE EARTHQUAKE Seismologists believe that the Kobe earthquake resulted in an increased amount of damage due to the meeting of hard ground (represented by the Rokko Mountain) and soft ground (the reclaimed land of Port Island). This was similar to the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. The point at which the Kobe Earthquake took place was at a subduction zone. Here stress built up in the rocks of the Pacific and Philippine Plates. When this stress was released from these rocks at the plate boundaries by moving, shockwaves travelled through the crust. THE ENDO FAMILY The oldest part of the city of Kobe is called Nishinomiya, Mr and Mrs Endo lived here leading a perfectly normal, uneventful life until the day the earthquake struck. ...read more.


Maharashtra is a town in India, which is unfortunately a less economically developed country. Many people lived there because it is a good area for agriculture. Therefore when the earthquake struck no one knew what to do and it took 36 hours for the rescue services to arrive. Even though this earthquake was less powerful compared to the Kobe Earthquake (6.2 on the Richter Scale), more people died because there was no equipment to help find trapped people beneath the rubble. The San Francisco Earthquake took place in 1989. The citizens there were well prepared for it and as earthquakes were renowned for taking place there, their buildings were made out of a hard, yet flexible material. America is an extremely economically developed country and therefore had good equipment for detecting anyone lost in the rubble and her medication was very advanced. The San Francisco Earthquake happened to take place on the same tectonic plate as the Kobe Earthquake. Luckily only 62 people were killed, even though hundreds were trapped below rubble. The only major problem which occurred was that some rescue services couldn't reach San Francisco because the Nimitz Bridge collapsed and the Bay Bridge cracked in its centre. LINKS http://www.eqe.com/publications/kobe/introduc.htm http://www.niksula.cs.hut.fi/~haa/kobe.html http://www.athena.ivv.nasa.gov/curric/land/kobe.html http://www.city.kobe.jp/index-e.html ...read more.

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