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The Kobe Earthquake
Why Did It Happen?
Effects of the Earthquake
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The Kobe Earthquake was a terrible tragedy that happened in Kobe, Japan, in January 1995. The Kobe earthquake measured a 7.2 on the Richter scale.
This quake killed 6,000 and injured 415,000 people. 100,000 houses were completely and 185,000 partially destroyed. This earthquake has been studied and examined many times over, especially in relation to the Northridge Earthquake in Southern California, almost exactly one year earlier. Both earthquakes had similar magnitudes and resulted from similar faults. The damage in Kobe, however was much worse than in Northridge. One major difference was in the different construction of buildings in California and Japan. Many buildings in Kobe were older and had heavy tile roofs that collapsed on the occupants. In California, most houses are wooden. These houses shook but generally did not collapse, because they were made of more flexible material.
The Kobe earthquake was a terrible disaster, but because of it Kobe and the world are better prepared.

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