The Kobe Japan Essay

Why are fires such hazard after an earthquake? Explain at least two contrasting reasons why this is a problem in Tokyo.

Ans: Fires are such a hazard after an earthquake because people in Japan have more gas house hold systems. For example People were cooking meals at the very moment that their homes began to shake and collapse. Cookers, sparking electric wires and hot embers from fires very quickly started over 300 fires, especially among the remains of wooden buildings.. It’s also easy for fire to spread real fast because all the houses in Japan are close to one another. In Tokyo buildings are more stable and are built in concrete. It’s easy accessible for fire engines in Tokyo than in Japan because of the narrow streets.

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There is a large amount of reclaimed land in Tokyo. Why is this land at risk from earthquake?

Ans: The reclaimed land does not have a solid ground meaning an earthquake could destroy everything which is there. Since it isn’t a solid ground it transmits shockwaves easily and further apart.

Why is Japan prone to earthquake activity?

Ans: Three tectonic plates such as the Eurasian plate, Pacific plate and the Philippine plate meet just off the coast of Tokyo. Earthquake occurs as a result of the subduction of the Philippine and Pacific plate beneath the Eurasian plate.

Kobe’s earthquake occurred before the rush hour. Had it occurred during the rush hour a much greater loss of life would have resulted? Why is this so?

Ans: The death toll could’ve been much higher if it occurred during the rush hour because then there will be traffic jam, then bridges breaking down, cars would explode causing more death and making it more dangerous compared to if people were inside.

What is an aftershock? How does it compare in magnitude to initial earthquake?

Ans: An aftershock is an earthquake that occurs after a previous earthquake (the main shock). An aftershock is in the same region of the main shock but is always of smaller magnitude strength. If an aftershock is larger than the main shock, the aftershock is redesignated as the main shock and the original main shock is redesignated as a foreshock. Aftershocks are smaller earthquakes formed as the crust around the displaced fault plane adjusts to the effects of the main shock.

Explain why so few buildings were covered by insurance in Kobe.

Ans: Most of the buildings in Kobe were wooden and if your house is made of wood then they won’t give you any insurance.

Choose an appropriate method to show the housing damage that occurred in the Kobe earthquake.

Ans: Primary Effects:

The primary effects included nearly 200,000 buildings collapsing, along with the elevated Hanshin Expressway along with many bridges. Several bullet trains were de-railed, and 120 of the 150 quays in the port of Kobe were destoryed. Thats over 2/3s of all of them!

Seconday Effects:

The secondary effects were much more numerous that the primary effects. These included many systems shutting down, i.e. electricity, gas, plumbing, etc. Fires that were started by broken gas pipes and broken electrical wires, spread through the city, rapidly destroying the many wooden houses. The fire was so great that there was a point when the wall of flame extended for 400+ meters. Other secondary effects included many blocked roads, delaying and stopping ambulances, fire engines, and other aid vehicles. Because of all the collapsed houses, about 230,000 people were left homeless.

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