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Exactly 40 Years Ago in Niigata...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 04:12 PM JST

Exactly forty years ago a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit Niigata and killed 26 people. On June 16, 1964 a powerful earthquake destroyed 3,018 houses and damaged 9,750. Some apartment buildings toppled over because of soil liquefaction and poor foundations.

Niigata in 1964
Aerial view of leaning apartment houses in Niigata produced by soil liquefaction and the behavior of poor foundations. Most of the damage was caused by cracking and unequal settlement of the ground such as is shown here. About 1/3 of the city subsided by as much as 2 meters as a result of sand compaction. Photo Credit: National Geophysical Data Center

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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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