Earthquake case study - Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake - 2007



You will require two sheets of paper - one blank A4 sheet and one lined A4 sheet.

By progressing through the following steps you will build up a case study of the 2007 Chuetsu Offsore Earthquake.


Where did it happen?

  1. One the sheet of blank paper draw a sketch outline of Japan. It should be as big as possible on the page. Add a north arrow. Mark on the location of Tokyo and Kobe. Label the four main islands.
  1. Mark on the location of epicentre, the magnitude of the earthquake, the depth of the focus and the time that it occurred.

When did it happen?

  1. Use the Wikipedia article (linked to below) to add a title the sheet you have drawn the map upon - which includes the name of the earthquake and the date it occurred.

Wikipedia - 2007 Chūetsu offshore earthquake


Why did it happen?

  1. Use the map below to add the boundaries of the tectonic plates to your sketch map. The Chuetsu Offsore Earthquake occurred on the boundaries of which two tectonic plates?

Who was affected by it happening?

[9 August 2007]
  1. Copy the following consequences onto your sketch map - putting them in boxes and connecting them to their locations (in bold). Use an atlas or Google Earth to find the locations.

Hundreds of people were injured when the tremor struck the Niigata area.

Seven deaths took place in the city of Kashiwazaki. Four women and three men - all in their 70s and 80s - died from injuries sustained in the earthquake.

Kashiwazaki city officials evacuated about 2,000 people had been from their homes, while tens of thousands are reported to have no power or running water.

Older buildings, many of them with wooden walls and heavy tile roofs, appear to have suffered the most damage in the earthquake, which also cracked roads and buckled bridges. 342 buildings were completely destroyed, mostly older wooden structures.

Skyscrapers swayed in Tokyo, more than 200km (125 miles), from the earthquake's epicentre in the Sea of Japan.

Clouds of black smoke poured from the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, which automatically shut down during the quake. The fire was extinguished within two hours. The earthquake also caused a leak of radioactive gases. A small amount of water from the spent fuel pool had also leaked, but plant operators are quoted saying the leak was low and did not present any environmental danger.

The area which has a strong tourism industry in the critical summer months, was hard hit by cancellations due to fears relating to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant.

Roads were covered by mudslides and rendered all the more damaging by recent heavy rains.

It was a national holiday, so offices and commuter railway lines were deserted.

There were tsunami warnings along the coast.

Toyota Motors had to stop production in all of its factories for a week because damage done to the Riken parts plant in Kashiwazaki.

  1. With three different highlighters or coloured pencils - shade in the Social consequences, Environmental and Economic consequences in different colours.

What happened?

  1. On the sheet of lined paper, write a one-paragraph overview of this earthquake case study.