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Press Release: Earthquake Photo Story

Geomorphology research after the Kumamoto earthquake

Photostory originally published on Facebook for Hiroshima University.

Collapsed buildings in Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

Hiroshima University researchers Hideaki Goto and Yasuhiro Kumahara specialize in geomorphology – studying the shape of Earth’s surface. They arrived in Kumamoto on Friday to collect data after Thursday evening’s earthquake. They were shaken awake at about 1:30am on Saturday by the second, larger earthquake in Mashiki. These photos from Saturday afternoon in Mashiki show some of the damage that local residents experienced. Mashiki Cultural Center is the tall grey building in the right-side background. PHOTO CREDIT: Hideaki Goto, Hiroshima University

Map of Futagawa Fault, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

The damage in Mashiki after Saturday’s earthquake was unexpected because the town is about 2km (1.6miles) away from Futagawa Fault. Associate Professors Hideaki Goto and Yasuhiro Kumahara followed the trail of disrupted earth branching off from Futagawa Fault all the way into the center of Mashiki. This trail of surface ruptures may trace a newly identified branch of Futagawa Fault. Professor Emeritus Takashi Nakata led a separate team to map surface ruptures along the known portion of Futagawa Fault, first identified over 30 years ago.

Road markings in Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

Hiroshima University Associate Professors Hideaki Goto and Yasuhiro Kumahara followed the trail of surface ruptures into Mashiki. The break in the white paint lines on either side of the road reveals the severity of the side-to-side shift in the earth. Buildings and homes closest to the surface ruptures experienced the most severe shaking and many had collapsed. PHOTO CREDIT: Yasuhiro Kumahara, Hiroshima University

Farms and mountains outside Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

Associate Professors Hideaki Goto and Yasuhiro Kumahara spent one day mapping the surface ruptures, but plan to return again in the coming weeks for additional field work.
“We want to do end-to-end mapping of the surface ruptures so that we can identify any branches of Futagawa Fault revealed by these recent earthquakes,” Goto said.
“Personally, the experience is devastating. But academically, there is much to discover,” Kumahara said. PHOTO CREDIT: Yasuhiro Kumahara, Hiroshima University

Fields northeast of Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

This image is one of the new surface ruptures northeast of Mashiki in an area with many farms. About seven rows of crops are misaligned in this field, revealing a dramatic side-to-side shift in the earth. PHOTO CREDIT: Yasuhiro Kumahara, Hiroshima University

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