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Kobe Earthquake - causes and effects

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Introduction

Kobe earthquake On January 17th, 1995, Japan was woken at 5:46am by its largest ever recorded earthquake. The Great Hanshin Earthquake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale and lasted over 20 seconds. According to official statistics, 5,472 people were killed, and over 400,000 were injured. Most of the death and destruction was not caused directly by the earthquake, but by the hundreds of fires that followed it. What causes the earthquake? Earthquakes are usually caused by the movement of the earth's tectonic plates. Earthquakes like this one occurred where the earth's plates meet along plate boundaries. For example as two plates move towards each other, one can be pushed down under the other one into the mantle. If this plate gets stuck it causes a lot of pressure on surrounding rocks. When this pressure is released it produces shock waves. These are called seismic waves. This is an earthquake. The waves spread out from the point where the earthquake started - the focus. ...read more.

Middle

Why did the earthquake happened here? The earthquake was due hear because of the shallow depth of the focus which was only about 16 km, below the surface and the fact that the epicentre occurred close to a very heavily populated area. Seismic shockwaves travelled from Awaji Island (the epicentre) along the Nojima Fault to the cities of Kobe and Osaka. Additionally Kobe lies close to the borders of two plate boundaries. Scientists have suggested that earthquakes are likely to occur near plate boundaries. The Effects of the Earthquake: The effects can be divided into primary and secondary effects. Primary effects included the collapse of 200,000 buildings, the destruction of 120 of the 150 quays in the port of Kobe, and fires which raged over large portions of the city. Secondary effects included disruption of the electricity supply. Residents were afraid to return home because of aftershocks that lasted several days (74 of which were strong enough to be felt). Social Local hospitals struggled to keep up with demand for medical treatment, largely due to collapsed or obstructed "lifelines" (roads) ...read more.

Conclusion

Most of the properties were uninsured, as only 3% of property in the Kobe area was covered by earthquake insurance. The sheer size of the earthquake caused a major decline in Japanese stock markets and factories were destroyed thus people in the neighbourhood had to search for work. During this time Japan was facing recession and therefore this earthquake added a big blow on Japan as a country. Environmental Earthquake effects include waste and air pollution and landfill disposal. About 20 million tons of waste was emitted. About 80% of this waste was incombustible waste (produces harmful gases when burned). Out of the 80%, 70% was concrete and mortar and the rest was steel frames and aluminium sashes. Combustibles, which occupied about 20%, consisted of wood, paper and plastics. Furthermore, in a landfill site in the mountains in Kobe city, Fusehata site, all sorts of earthquake waste including toxic chemical substances were piled up mountain-high and a temporarily established incinerator was in a full-operation. A great amount of asbestos was left in bags. There was no environment-protection such as rubber sheeting in the Fusehata site. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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