2016 Kumamoto earthquakes
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|Date *||April 14, 2016|
|Origin time *||21:26:38.7 (JST, first detected)|
|Depth||11 km (6.8 mi)|
|Areas affected||Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan|
|Casualties||20 killed, ~1,880 injured|
|* Deprecated||See documentation.|
An earthquake of 7.0 moment magnitude occurred at 01:25 JST,[a] April 16, 2016, around the city of Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu, Japan, at a depth of about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). This was preceded by a foreshock earthquake of magnitude 6.2 at 21:26 JST[b] on April 14, 2016, at a depth of about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi).
Collectively, the earthquakes killed at least 20 people and injured approximately 1,880 others. Severe damage occurred in and around Kumamoto, with numerous structures collapsing or catching fire. More than 44,000 people evacuated from the region due to the disaster.
April 14 earthquake
Although the epicenter of the earthquake occurred 12.0 kilometres (7.5 mi) north-northwest from Kumamoto's city center, the worst-hit area was in the eastern Kumamoto suburb of Mashiki, where eight of the earthquake's nine victims perished. It is the first earthquake to occur on the island of Kyushu to register as a 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agency's (JMA) seismic intensity scale.—the same level as the Great Tohoku Earthquake in March 2011 which devastated parts of eastern Japan. Furthermore, it was the first earthquake on record in Kyushu to register a 7 on the JMA scale. In the following hours, there were at least 11 aftershocks of at least 4.5 magnitude, one of which was a 6; more than 140 aftershocks were registered within two days. The earthquake was strongly felt as far north as Shimonoseki on Honshu, and as far south as Kirishima, Kagoshima.
At least 9 people lost their lives and approximately 1,000 more were injured. Kumamoto Castle sustained damage to its exterior walls and roof because of the earthquake and its aftershocks. The castle's shachihoko were destroyed. Numerous structures collapsed or caught fire as a result of the earthquake. Numerous landslides took place across the mountains of Kyushu, rendering roads impassible; a bullet train was also derailed. A 500-bed hospital in Kumamoto largely collapsed, forcing the evacuation of all patients. A natural gas leak prompted Saibu Gas to turn off supplies to multiple homes in Kumamoto.
By April 16, more than 44,000 people were evacuated from the hardest-hit areas. Service on the Kyushu Shinkansen was suspended after a train derailed due to the earthquake. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe mobilized 3,000 personnel of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to assist local authorities with search and rescue and recovery efforts.
April 16 earthquake
At 1:25 a.m. JST on April 16 (16:25 UTC, April 15), a 7.0 magnitude earthquake north of Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu in southwest Japan, occurred as the result of strike-slip faulting at shallow depth. Significant damage occurred in areas recovering from the April 14 earthquake, with significantly strong tremors also recorded as far east as Beppu City, Oita Prefecture. A tsunami advisory was issued for areas along the Ariake Sea and Yatsushiro Sea, with the wave height forecast at 0.2 to 1 m (0.66 to 3.28 ft). Around 8:30 a.m. local time, Mount Aso saw a small-scale eruption with ash billowing 100 m (330 ft) into the air; it is unclear if the eruption is related to the earthquake or not.
At least 11 people were killed and more than 880 others were injured. Police received more than 300 calls in Kumamoto and 100 from Ōita from residents seeking help; many involved people trapped under rubble. An additional 1,600 soldiers from the Japan Self-Defense Forces joined relief efforts following the earthquake. The entire city of Kumamoto city was left without water. All residents of Nishihara, Kumamoto, were evacuated over fears that a nearby dam could collapse.
Kumamoto lies at the southern end of Japan's Median Tectonic Line, Japan's longest, where it splits into two.
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