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The Kobe earthquake of 1995

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Introduction

The Kobe earthquake of 1995 Kobe is a heavily populated urban area. It is here that disaster struck in 1995 when an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 hit the area. It was a major disaster in a MEDC where the modern buildings had been earthquake proofed. Many of the city's residents had been unaware of the chances of an earthquake taking place. The epicentre of the earthquake was located on the island of Awaji at 34.6 N 135.0 E. The earthquake had taken place because of a subduction zone on the plate margin. The type of margin where the Philippine plate and the Eurasian plate meet is a destructive margin. This means that the Philippine plate (Oceanic plate) moved under the Eurasian plate (continental plate) causing uplifting and folding of the ground that the plate was on. The ground moved 7 inches in horizontal shaking in this earthquake, and 4 inches in the vertical direction. This is the greatest recording of plate movement in Japan. The ground movement was even greater in Awaji Island where the ground moved 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm), with a vertical slip of 4 feet 3 inches (130 cm). ...read more.

Middle

Breweries had to close because the beer couldn't be fermented. Metal industries had to stop working because of the cut in gas and water. Car companies had to cut the production of cars, and supermarkets run out of stock as the crowds flocked to get food. Transportation problems meant that new stock had to come in by helicopter. * Extra jobs were made when the rebuilding of factories and houses was started. * Many people permanently moved away. Precautions Taken Most of the modern buildings in Kobe had been earthquake proofed in three ways. Some buildings had been built with a concrete weight on top which moved in the opposite direction of the earthquake. Other buildings had rubber shock absorbers in the foundations to allow the building to rock back and forth and up and down without causing too much damage apart from some falling books etc. Some buildings had cross-bracings which allowed the building to twist and turn so it can move with the earthquake. The causes The Kobe earthquake was caused by a destructive margin along which the Philippine plate moved under the Eurasian plate. ...read more.

Conclusion

To examine the damage we must consider three factors. These factors are the strength of an earthquake, the time of the earthquake and the type of rock the settlement is on. The strength of the earthquake was quite small compared to other earthquakes in Japan. It was 5.46 am so everyone would have been asleep. Kobe had been built on variousness of ground hardness. For example part of Kobe was built on solid land from the Rokko Mountain and another part of Kobe near to the coast was built on soft ground reclaimed from the sea. This means that the buildings on soft ground would have collapsed more easily as their foundations would have been uprooted. This is also what took place at the 1985 Mexico earthquake and at the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. So why was so much damage caused compared to other earthquakes? Fire is the main reason that many of the buildings in Kobe were destroyed. The fire was caused by the gas mains being fractured and inmost places exploding. The wooden buildings that were in the Central Business District caught fire and therefore became a fire hazard. This caused the surviving modern buildings to catch fire and collapse. This is what caused the most damage. ...read more.

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