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Thread: Japan earthquake puzzle

  1. #1 Japan earthquake puzzle 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Question asked on another forum that I thought was worth copying, as I can't think of any explanation for this: How did the earth happen to split apart exactly along the centerline of the road?

    http://inapcache.boston.com/universa...uake1/bp36.jpg

    One idea: the road was originally a single lane built on the natural soil. When it was widened to two lanes the ground was excavated and then built up with fill dirt, forming a discontinuity.


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  3. #2  
    Comet Dust Collector Moderator
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    Also, the base layer of gravel/concrete was probably done in two sections...if you watch an interstate being paved, even if all the lanes are closed, they only do one at a time...that's how big the machines are. So there would be a natural discontinuity there.


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    Forum Professor jrmonroe's Avatar
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    Good question. The photo look dangerous with the workers standing so close.

    I'd say that the quaking caused the artificially built-up soil to the left of the center line to slide downhill. This would not be the fault line, and the cracks we see (on both sides of the left lane) would extend down only a few/several feet, and not miles or kilometers. I would think that any true gaps along a fault line would be quickly filled in as part of the quaking (and aftershocks), and that houses, people, etc would basically be "swallowed up" and lost forever during the quake.

    Consider the natural angle of repose for soil is about 30 to 45 degrees.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    The entire slope appears to be man made. There's a bridge in the background so it looks as if there's a canal or a canalized river behind the embankment. I think the whole hillside is made of fill dirt, but perhaps the construction crews produced different degrees of compaction on the two sides.

    At first I thought there are strata visible in the exposed face, which initially suggested it might have been a natural hillside, but on closer examination that seems not to be the case. Just a rather surprising result of this horrible earthquake.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne
    Also, the base layer of gravel/concrete was probably done in two sections...if you watch an interstate being paved, even if all the lanes are closed, they only do one at a time...that's how big the machines are. So there would be a natural discontinuity there.
    That...
    Observe the road: the surfaces are different, one is made with regular patches, a bit like road in the US.
    The other side is made with uniform normal tar.
    Conclusion, the road was build in 2 phases and probably on 2 different man-made landfill.
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