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Earthquakes in Japan

Nature volume 162, page 57 (10 July 1948) | Download Citation



AT about 8 p.m. local time on June 28, four severe earthquakes affected the sea and land areas around the town of Fukui, on the west coast of Honshu Island, Japan. The epicentres of the shocks appear to have been near lat. 36-1° N., long. 136° E., though news from the Japanese observatories has not yet been received. An area within a radius of about 30 miles from Fukui was destructively affected. The population of Fukui (about 85,000) was largely engaged in the textile industry (mostly silk), as more than one quarter of the looms of Japan were in the town. There were some ferro-concrete buildings in the town, but most of the buildings were made of wood and these were soon set alight by the fires scattered by the shocks. The fires were difficult to check owing to earthquake damage to the water supply, and it is estimated that nearly 40,000 buildings were damaged beyond repair. A cinema collapsed, burying alive a large number of people, and many casualties were caused by falling debris at the railway station. Six other towns and thirty-nine villages in the neighbourhood were severely affected, including Marouka, Mikuni, Matsuoka, Daishoji and Kanaza. Communications were severely affected and an important railway bridge was destroyed, making relief work difficult. Huge waves lashed the coast. Altogether, some 3,200 people are believed to have lost their lives, and there are thousands of others injured. Aftershocks continued for some days.

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