Japan Earthquake: Engineering that saved lives


The earthquake that hit Japan one week ago today, which had a reported magnitude of 8.9, ranks as the 7th largest earthquake ever recorded, and the death toll continues to rise from the trifecta of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power issues. The death toll could have been even worse, however, without the strict Japanese Building Codes which doubtless saved thousands of lives.

According to the New York Times, such features as extra steel bracing, giant rubber pads and embedded hydraulic shock absorbers in high buildings make modern Japanese buildings among the sturdiest in the world during a major earthquake. Japan has such strict building codes because it is located in the “Ring of Fire,” where over 90% of the world’s total earthquakes occur.

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