Main Characteristics of the South Hyogo Earthquake


--- This quake is known to be the worst inflicted upon a metropolitan area since the Great Kanto Earthquake, but what do we know of its characteristics?

Kobori: Although much has already been said on this subject, this earthquake had a shallow epicenter and occurred directly underfoot. The fault runs from a hilly area to a lowland area and caused a quake of great magnitude. The energy generated from the hill plate and lowland plate moving in different directions had an adverse affect on buildings and was the cause of so much damage. This earthquake is proof that the earth has yet to become dormant and can be looked upon as the providence of nature, but sadly Kobe and Awashima were situated directly above it. The characteristics of the damage revealed that old buildings crumbled and new buildings - at least, buildings constructed with new investigative methods - remained standing. Although this is no consolation for the people involved, this is the lesson we have learned.

Nojiri: I arrived in the devastated area on January 18th and visited mostly civil engineering structures, but I was left speechless at the horror of the damage. Speaking from my experience in seismology, the level of the damageand its scale vastly exceeded any earthquake we have ever had in the past.

--- It has been established that the quake was of an immense scale, but what of its effects to Kajima's facilities?

Kojima: Four large-scale civil engineering projects were under construction at the time of the quake. Each of these sustained a certain amount of damage, but none that requires rebuilding. However, there were structures constructed in the past that experienced collapsed supports and actually keeled over. Recovery work in the shape of debris disposal is currently being carried out in accordance with requests from the Ministry of Construction, the various railroadcorporations and JR. Half of the strengthening and rebuilding work required affects Kajima constructions, and the remaining half affects other companies. As of February 13th we were involved in emergency construction work on approximately 650 buildings. The impact of the damage was felt most severely in the Sannomiya region, and approximately 70 buildings, including Kajima's, need to be rebuilt. There are four buildings constructed by Kajima, such as the Kotsu Center Building,etc. Of the approximately 70 buildings that have escaped rebuilding but requir repair work, three of them are Kajima constructions. And this sums up only the central area of Sannomiya. I was mostly worried about the effects the earthquake had on the projects with which I was personally involved, such as Kansai's first super high-rise building and the Kobe Commercial Trade Center Building. I was really worried if they were alright, or not, and breathed a deep sigh of relief when I saw them standing as usual on TV.

Kobori: I was in charge of the construction rating inspections when the building was designed, so I must also admit to being worried about the safety of the Kobe Commercial Trade Center Building.


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