The 1948 Fukui earthquake

Japan, an area of ​​high seismic risk, has suffered over the course of time many different and very powerful seismic phenomena, such as the 1948 Fukui earthquake.
Fukui, a city already severely tested by the war events and the bombings of the air raids of the Second World War, was hit in 1948 by a strong earthquake that destroyed the entire city.

 

Fukui earthquake of June 28, 1948

The 1948 Fukui earthquake, measuring 6,8, struck Fukui Prefecture, Japan on June 28, 1948 at 5:13:31 pm (JDT).
The hypocenter of the earthquake was 10 km north-east of Fukui, in the current district of Maruoka, in the city of Sakai. The strongest quake, which occurred in the city of Fukui, was recorded as 6 (equivalent to the current 7) on the Japanese Meteorological Agency's seismic intensity scale (Japan Meteorological Agency).
Various studies estimated that the Fukui earthquake of 1948 was caused by the movement of a transcurrent fault extending from Kanazu to Fukui, with a length of 25 km (16 miles), later referred to as the “Fukui Earthquake Fault”. The earthquake was felt up to the cities of Mito and Saga.

 

 

What were the effects and damage caused by the Fukui earthquake of 1948?

The 1948 earthquake devastated the city of Fukui, which was still recovering from the damage it sustained during World War II air raids in July 1945. The seismic event was followed by floods across the Fukuiheiya plain and in the neighboring prefecture. by Ishikawa. Official casualty estimates totaled 3.769 dead and 22.000 injured, with more than 36.000 buildings completely destroyed. In the Kanazugocho district (today's eastern Arawa), Maruoka, Harue and the Yoshida district, almost every building was leveled. In the central city of Fukui, adjacent to the epicenter, about 79% of the structures were completely destroyed, while the overall destruction rate in the Fukuiheiya floodplain exceeded 60%. Furthermore, due to the earthquake, fires broke out which aggravated the destruction of the houses.
In fact, since many people were cooking when the earthquake occurred, many fires broke out which also spread to the streets. Since the aqueduct was damaged, it took five days to put out the fires.

 

 

The earthquake also severely damaged the banks of the Kuzuryū River and record rains in the weeks following the 1948 earthquake caused the levees to burst, leading to massive flooding.

 

 The greatest damage was reported in the Fukui Plain, where the collapse rate of buildings was over 60%. Most of the country houses in the epicenter area collapsed, but as most of the farmers were working in the fields and outside the houses, there were not many casualties.

Among the buildings that collapsed were Maruoka Castle, Hosorogi Station and Kanazu Station (now Awaraonsen Station), the Daiwa Department Store and a Fukui Theater which also caught fire, causing hundreds of deaths.

Despite the Daiwa Department Store collapsing, the Fukui Bank building, which was right next to it (see image below), suffered no significant damage. It is thought that the reason why the Fukui Bank was not severely damaged was related to the fact that the building had approximately 500 foundation pipes 10 meters deep in the ground.

 

 

Reconstruction works

Due to the 1948 earthquake, the city of Fukui was reduced to rubble. The inhabitants of Fukui, despite the war damage caused by earthquakes, fires and floods that reduced the city to ashes, continued to rebuild the city. In honor of the resilience of the inhabitants, the statute of the citizen of Fukui proclaimed it "City of the Phoenix", capable of always rising from its ashes.

 

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