Kobe Earthquake

Case study on an MEDC

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  • Case Study
    • Location
      • Kobe, Japan
    • When/What?
      • 5:46am
      • 17 January 1995
      • Measured 7.2 on the Richter Scale
      • Lasted 20 seconds
      • Focus very close to surface
      • Epicenter very close to Kobe
    • Event
      • Lies near destructive plate boundary formed by convergence of Philippine (oceanic) and Eurasian (continental) plates.
      • Philippine plate forced downwards on contact with Eurasian Plate
      • Increased pressure in subduction zone which is released as earthquake
    • Effects
      • 5500 people died
      • 40000 injured
      • 230000 made homeless
      • 20000 buildings collapsed
      • Hanshin expressway collapsed and railway bridges wrecked
      • Roads at gridlock, delaying emergency services
      • Quays destroyed
      • Electricity, gas and water supplies disrupted
      • Fires caused by broken gas pipes and ruptured electricity cables
        • Spread rapidly as houses made of wood
    • Responses
      • Very frightened, especially of aftershocks
        • Reluctant to move back into buildings
      • 230000 homeless lived in temporary shelters
      • Government replaced infrastructure
        • Fully operational again by July
      • Housing rebuilt
        • Fewer wooden buildings, built stronger
      • Increased number of seismic instruments in area


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