At 8 am Monday morning (Japanese local time) a powerful 5.3 magnitude earthquake shook Japan’s second largest city – Osaka. […]
At 8 am Monday morning (Japanese local time) a powerful 5.3 magnitude earthquake shook Japan’s second largest city – Osaka. In a country unfortunately all too used to earthquakes this latest one was not the largest or the deadliest in recent times. Fortunately, it was not on the scale of the Kobe quake that hit the same region in 1995 and caused the death of more than 6000 people. However, for the families of the 4 victims, the hundreds of people injured and the many thousands affected by damage the earthquake will have a lasting impact.
A CNN news report states that two of the deaths were due to concrete walls collapsing with at least one of these being directly due to the concrete wall not meeting the building safety codes. This wall collapsed and killed a 9-year-old girl as she walked to school and without knowing the investigation details it is not hard to imagine that this tragedy could have been avoided if the concrete construction had been up to safety code. The second concrete wall fatality was an 80-year-old who died when he was trapped by a concrete block wall that collapsed in the quake. 50% of the death toll was due to concrete walls collapsing and they may well have been avoided with proper construction and testing.
The recent Osaka earthquake and the Guatemala quake which occurred on the same day just on the other side of the Pacific are a timely reminder to us here in New Zealand of the importance of making sure our structures are solid and meet the safety codes. Both Japan and Guatemala are situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of intense seismic and volcanic activity on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. And as you can see from the image below, New Zealand is also right in the middle of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Without a doubt, there will more quakes in and around the Pacific Ring of Fire and as we continue to rebuild from the recent Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes it is important we keep in mind the danger substandard structures can have. If you are unsure or would like to check for peace of mind then Non-destructive testing is one way to determine structural integrity.
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