In memory of the victims of September 1, 19XX – Taiwan, Japan – Tokyo, Costa Rica, Albania, Iran and South-Africa

The 1923 Great Kanto earthquake (view from Kot...

Tokyo 1923 earthquake - Image via Wikipedia

M 7.9   01-09-1923   Depth 35 km    Japan – Tokyo – killing 143,000 people
The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake struck the Kantō plain on the Japanese main island of Honshū at 11:58:44 am JST on September 1, 1923. Varied accounts hold that the duration of the earthquake was between 4 and 10 minutes.
The quake had a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale, with its focus deep beneath Izu Ōshima Island in Sagami Bay.
This earthquake devastated Tokyo, the port city of Yokohama, surrounding prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, and Shizuoka, and caused widespread damage throughout the Kantō region. The power and intensity of the earthquake is easy to underestimate, but it managed to move the 93-ton Great Buddha statue at Kamakura which was over 60 km away from the epicenter. The statue slid forward almost two feet.
Casualty estimates range from about 100,000 to 142,000 deaths, the latter figure including approximately 40,000 who went missing and were presumed dead. Damages from this natural disaster were the greatest sustained by Prewar Japan. In 1960, government of Japan declared September 1, the anniversary of the quake, as an annual “Disaster Prevention Day.”
According to the Japanese construction company Kajima Kobori Research’s report of September 2005, there were 105,000 confirmed deaths in the 1923 quake.
Because the earthquake struck at lunchtime when many people were using fire to cook food, the damage and the number of fatalities were augmented due to fires which broke out in numerous locations. The fires spread rapidly due to high winds from a nearby typhoon off the coast of Noto Peninsula in Northern Japan and some developed into firestorms which swept across cities. This caused many to die when their feet got stuck in melting tarmac; however, the single greatest loss of life occurred when approximately 38,000 people packed into an open space at the Rikugun Honjo Hifukusho (Former Army Clothing Depot) in downtown Tokyo were incinerated by a firestorm-induced fire whirl. As the earthquake had caused water mains  to break, putting out the fires took nearly two full days until late in the morning of September 3. The fires were the biggest causes of death.
The Imperial Palace caught fire, but the Prince Regent was unharmed. The Emperor and Empress were at Nikko when the earthquake struck the city, and were never in any danger.
Cases of homes being buried or swept away by landslides were particularly frequent in the mountainous areas and hilly coastal areas in western Kanagawa Prefecture. These cases are reported to account for the deaths of about 800 people. At the railway station in the village of Nebukawa, west of Odawara, a collapsing mountainside pushed a passing passenger train with over 100 passengers downhill into the sea along with the entire station structure and the village itself. A tsunami reached the coast within minutes in some areas, hitting the coast of Sagami Bay, Boso Peninsula, Izu Islands and the east coast of Izu Peninsula. Tsunamis of up to 10 meters were recorded. Examples of tsunami damage include about 100 people killed along Yui-ga-hama beach in Kamakura and an estimated 50 people on the Enoshima causeway. Over 570,000 homes were destroyed, leaving an estimated 1.9 million homeless. Some evacuees were transported by ship to as far from Kanto as the port of Kobe in Kansai.[8] The damage is estimated to have exceeded one billion U.S. dollars at contemporary values. There were 57 accountable aftershocks.
At around the time of the earthquake, a strong typhoon struck the Tokyo Bay area. Some scientists, including C.F. Brooks of the United States Weather Bureau hypothesise that the conflicting forces exerted by a sudden decrease of atmospheric pressure coupled with a sudden increase of pressure from the sea caused by storm surge on an already-stressed earthquake fault  may have been enough to trigger the initial quake. Altogether, the earthquake and typhoon killed an estimated 99,300 people, and another 43,500 went missing.

M 7.5   01-09-1922   Depth 35 km    Taiwan – killing 5 people
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M 5.8   01-09-1955            Costa Rica – killing 10 people
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M 6.1   01-09-1959   Depth 11 km    Albania – killing 2 people

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M 6.9   01-09-1962   Depth 17.6 km    Iran – killing 12,225 people
The 1962 Bou’in-Zahra earthquake occurred on September 1, 1962, in the settlement of Bou’in-Zahra, Qazvin Province, Iran. 12,225 fatalities resulted from the massive, magnitude 6.9 earthquake.
12,225 fatalities resulted from the earthquake. An additional 2,776 people were injured; along with 21,310 houses either destroyed or too damaged to repair. 35 percent of domestic livestock was also killed, and several landslides and rock falls occurred posterior to the rupture.  21,000 houses were destroyed, mainly because they were made up of mud and brick. Over 7,500 were buried in 31 individual villages, followed by reports from 60 additional villages. In these villages, however, 26,618 survived. One hospital in Tehran was “packed” with over 2,500 victims.
Slight damage was experienced in Tehran, the nation’s capital. Cities as far away as Tabriz, Esfahan and Yazd reported the tremor. Sandblows also formed along the rupture zone. The earthquake was also declared the largest rupture in the region since approximately 1630, over 300 years prior. Earthquake lights were also sighted from the Rudak area multiple times.
Qazvin Province lies in an area of Iran that experiences large earthquakes. The 1962 event originated on one of many faults in the area, called the Ipak Fault. Believed to have been reactivated multiple times, the fault is extensive and could still pose a threat to locals.
Iran’s building codes, renowned for performing poorly during earthquakes, were recently evaluated by multiple world organizations. Most hope that the Iranian government will implement a better quality of design, highlighting that Iran is among the most seismically active countries in the world.

M 6.3   01-09-1968   Depth 8.8 km    Iran – killing 10,000 people
Strong aftershock of the Dasht-e Bayaz and Ferdows earthquake (August 31) (see August 31), destroying an additional 175 villages, killing a lot of people and livestock.

M 2.7   01-09-1994   Depth 5 km        South Africa – killing 3 people
Three people killed and 13 injured at the Vaal Reefs gold mine.

“In memory of” is highlighting deadly earthquakes of the past.
People have forgotten a lot of these human tragedies.
We @ Earthquake Report are hopeful that people in these countries and cities will learn from their history and will make sure that they are building Earthquake Proof houses and that they know what to do when the earth will be shaking again.

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2 Responses

  1. […] The annual earthquake drill was based on a large-scale earthquake in the Tokyo area and helped Japanese government officials examine national, regional and local levels of readiness. (see report ‘ In memory of the victims of September 1 for a detailed desc…) […]

  2. […] execises earthquake simulations around the country to commemorate the 7.9-magnitude Great Kanto Earthquake on Sept. 1, 1923. The disaster killed an estimated 143,000 people in Tokyo and other […]

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