2016 Kumamoto earthquakes

The 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes (Japanese: 平成28年熊本地震 Hepburn: Heisei 28-nen Kumamoto jishin) are a series of earthquakes,[2] including a magnitude 7.0 mainshock which struck at 01:25 JST on April 16, 2016 (16:25 UTC on April 15) beneath Kumamoto City of Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu Region, Japan, at a depth of about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi),[11] and a foreshock earthquake with a magnitude 6.2 at 21:26 JST (12:26 UTC) on April 14, 2016, at a depth of about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi).[4]

The two earthquakes killed at least 50 people and injured about 3,000 others in total. Severe damage occurred in Kumamoto and Ōita Prefectures, with numerous structures collapsing and catching fire. More than 44,000 people were evacuated from their homes due to the disaster.

2016 Kumamoto earthquakes
Japan Shakemap 15 April 2016
United States Geological Survey shake map for the April 16 earthquake; a maximum Mercalli intensity scale value of 8.8 was observed just east of Kumamoto City.[1]
2016 Kumamoto earthquakes is located in Japan
2016 Kumamoto earthquakes
2016 Kumamoto earthquakes is located in Kyushu
2016 Kumamoto earthquakes
UTC time2016-04-15 16:25:06
ISC event610289055
Local dateApril 16, 2016[2]
Local time01:25 JST (UTC+9)
Magnitude7.0 Mw[2]
Depth10 km[3]
Epicenter32°46′55.2″N 130°43′33.6″E / 32.782000°N 130.726000°E[2]
Areas affectedKumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan[4]
Max. intensityIX (Violent)
Foreshocks6.2Mw, April 14, 2016
12:26:36 (UTC), 21:26:36 (JST)[4][5][6]
CasualtiesForeshock: 9 dead, 1,108 injured

Mainshock: 41 dead, 2,021 injured[7]

Total:50 dead, 3,129 injured[8][9][10]

April 14 foreshock

2016 Kumamoto earthquakes (Magnitude)
Magnitude of earthquakes

Although the focus of the foreshock earthquake was 12.0 kilometres (7.5 mi) beneath Mount Kinpo to the north-northwest of Kumamoto's city center, the worst-hit area was in the eastern Kumamoto suburb of Mashiki, where the foreshock earthquake's victims perished.[12] The earthquake was strongly felt as far north as Shimonoseki on southwestern Honshu, and as far south as the city of Kirishima in Kagoshima Prefecture.[13] In the following hours, there were at least 11 aftershocks of at least 4.5 magnitude, one of which was a magnitude 6;[14] more than 140 aftershocks were registered within two days.[15] It was 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.[16][17] On April 15, the JMA officially labelled it Heisei 28-nen Kumamoto jishin (平成28年熊本地震, "Heisei 28 Kumamoto Earthquake")–Heisei 28 being the year 2016 on the Japanese calendar.[18]

At least 9 people lost their lives and approximately 1,000 more were injured.[15] By April 16, more than 44,000 people were evacuated from the hardest-hit areas.[19] 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.[19]

April 16 main shock

At 01:25 JST on April 16 (16:25 UTC, April 15), a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, under Higashi Ward of Kumamoto City in the Kyushu Region in southwest Japan, occurred as the result of strike-slip faulting at shallow depth.[2] Significant additional damage occurred in those areas of Kumamoto Prefecture recovering from the April 14 earthquake, with strong tremors and damage also recorded as far east as the city of Beppu in Ōita Prefecture.[20] It was also felt as far away as Busan, South Korea, with an intensity of MMI III.[2][21] A tsunami advisory was issued at 01:27 JST for areas along the Ariake Sea and Yatsushiro Sea, with the wave height forecast at 0.2 to 1 m (0.7 to 3.3 ft),[19] but was lifted less than an hour later at 02:14 JST.[22]

At least 35 people were killed and more than 2,000 others were injured.[23] Kumamoto Prefectural Police got more than 300 calls and also Ōita Prefectural Police took 100 calls, some reporting people trapped or buried under debris.[24] More than 91,700 people were evacuated. An additional 15,000 soldiers from the Japan Self-Defense Forces joined relief efforts following the earthquake.[25] By April 18, the number of people seeking shelter had risen to 180,000, while at least 8 people remained missing in a landslide caused by the earthquake.


As a result of the tremors, the entire city of Kumamoto city was left without water.[26] All residents of Nishihara Village in Kumamoto Prefecture were evacuated over fears that a nearby dam could collapse.[26] Kumamoto Airport was also closed to all but emergency flights, and service on the Kyushu Shinkansen was suspended after a train derailed due to the earthquake.[27] Numerous structures collapsed or caught fire as a result of the earthquake. Government officials estimated more than 1,000 buildings had been seriously damaged, with 90 destroyed.[28] A 500-bed hospital in Kumamoto City was knocked off its foundations, forcing the evacuation of all patients,[15] and a natural gas leak prompted Saibu Gas to turn off supplies to multiple homes in the city.[17]

Numerous landslides took place across the mountains of Kyushu, rendering roads impassable,[19][29] The Great Aso Bridge of the Japan National Route 325 in Minamiaso collapsed into the Kurokawa river.[30] A particularly large rockslide was photographed blocking the entirety of a four-lane express-way close to the fallen Great Aso Bridge, leaving a large scar that ran almost completely up the hill that suffered the rockslide.

The Aso Shrine was also heavily damaged in the earthquake. The shrine's rōmon (tower gate), officially classified as an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government, and the haiden (worshiping hall) both completely collapsed.[31] Kumamoto Castle, another Important Cultural Property sustained damage to its roof and exterior buildings and walls because of the earthquakes and associated aftershocks.[32] Several of the castle's shachihoko ornaments were destroyed,[33] and a large number of kawara tiles also fell from the roof. Other historical buildings such as Janes' Residence, the first western-style house built in Kumamoto (dating from 1871)[34] were also totally destroyed[35] The former registered Cultural Asset was initially located in the grounds of Kumamoto Castle, but was later relocated near Suizen-ji Jōju-en.

Early estimates of the economic costs of the damage range from $5.5 billion to $7.5 billion, with insured property losses estimated to be between $800 million to $1.2 billion, according to Risk Management Solutions or between $1.7 billion to $2.9 billion, according to Guy Carpenter.[36] Through the first half of 2016, about $3.2 billion of claims for damage to residential dwellings were paid out by insurance companies, according to data from the General Insurance Association of Japan.[37]

The Aso-Ohashi bridge fallen by a landslip of the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes

The Great Aso Bridge in Minamiaso collapsed into the Kurokawa River due to a landslide

2016 Kumamoto earthquake Kumamoto Castle 4

The north-west Inui Turret and wall of Kumamoto Castle.[38]

2016 Kumamoto earthquake Mr. Janes's residence 1

The ruins of the historic Janes' Residence

2016 Kumamoto earthquake Sunlive Kengun

The damaged Sunlive Kengun in the pedestrian arcade in down-town Kumamoto.


Kumamoto Prefecture lies at the southern end of the Japan Median Tectonic Line, Japan's longest, where a system of active faults forks in two directions at the Beppu-Haneyama Fault Zone. Specifically, the series of quakes ruptured the 81-km-long Hinagu Fault and 64-km-long Futagawa Fault to its north, as well as lesser but discernable interaction with the farther flung Beppu-Haneyama Fault Zone.[39][40] A 27-km section of the Futagawa Fault Zone slid 3.5 meters.[40] The earthquakes are occurring along the Beppu–Shimabara graben,[41] with epicentres moving from west to east over time.[42]

Around 08:30 local time on 16 April, Mount Aso saw a small-scale eruption with ash billowing 100 m (330 ft) into the air; the eruption was not related to the earthquake.[43][44] Mount Aso had already been active since before the earthquakes,[45] being under a Level 2 warning from the JMA since November 24, 2015.[46][47]

See also


  1. ^ "M7.0 - 1km WSW of Kumamoto-shi, Japan: Shake Map". United States Geological Survey. April 15, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "M7.0 - 1km WSW of Kumamoto-shi, Japan". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  3. ^ "M7.0 - 1km WSW of Kumamoto-shi, Japan". earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b c 平成28年4月14日21時26分頃の熊本県熊本地方の地震について [About the earthquake in the Kumamoto area of Kumamoto Prefecture, around 21:26, April 14, 2016]. Japan Meteorological Agency (in Japanese). 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  5. ^ =緊急地震速報の内容 [The contents of the Earthquake Early Warning]. Japan Meteorological Agency (in Japanese). 2016-04-14. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  6. ^ "M6.2 - 7km SW of Ueki, Japan". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  7. ^ "US Forces Deliver Aid to Japanese Quake-Hit Areas; 44 Dead". NY Times. New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Last Kumamoto quake victim ID'd, leaving death toll at 50". The Japan Times. 2016-08-14. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  9. ^ "www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160422_02/".
  10. ^ "70% of Kumamoto victims died in collapsed homes:The Asahi Shimbun". Asahi.com. 2016-05-01. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  11. ^ "M7.0 – 1km WSW of Kumamoto-shi, Japan". USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  12. ^ "At Least 10 Dead, More Than 800 Injured in Japan 6.5-Magnitude Earthquake". ABC News. 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" 地震情報(各地の震度に関する情報) [Earthquake Information: Information on the Seismic Activity in Affected Areas] (in Japanese). Japan Meteorological Agency. April 14, 2016. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Southern Japan, Killing 2; Homes Collapse, 45 Injured".
  15. ^ a b c Doug Stanglin (April 16, 2016). "Hospital evacuated after major quake rocks Japanese island". USA Today. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  16. ^ "More aftershocks feared after strong quake in southwestern Japan". Nikkei Asian Review. April 15, 2016. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Daisuke Kikuchi (April 15, 2016). "Kumamoto residents pick up the pieces following Kyushu's strongest quake". The Japan Times. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  18. ^ The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake -Portal- Earthquake Summary Retrieved 17 April 2016 (archive)
  19. ^ a b c d Don Melvin; Greg Botelho; Ray Sanchez (April 16, 2016). "7.0 quake strikes Japan; rescuers try to free residents". CNN. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  20. ^ "M 5.1 - 11km WSW of Beppu, Japan". earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Magnitude 3 Tremors Felt in Southern Region".
  22. ^ "Japan Meteorological Agency | Tsunami Warnings/Advisories, Tsunami Information". www.jma.go.jp. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Japanese Quake Death Toll Rises, U.S. Helps Deliver Aid". USN. April 18, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  24. ^ "Japan hit by 7.3-magnitude earthquake". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  25. ^ Caroline Mortimer (April 16, 2016). "Japan earthquake: Tsunami alert after 7.3 tremor his south of country – 24 hours after 10 died in separate quake". The Independent. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  26. ^ a b "2nd Japanese earthquake leaves at least 3 dead, 400 injured". CBC News. April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  27. ^ "Aftershocks rattle southwestern Japan after quake kills nine". Reuters. 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  28. ^ "Eleven people remain missing in southern Japan from two powerful earthquakes that killed 41 people". US News. April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
  29. ^ "PHOTOS: Second Devastating Earthquake Hits Japan Triggering Landslides". NBC News.
  30. ^ "Large road bridge collapses as new quake hits Kumamoto". Asahi Shimbun. 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  31. ^ "Designated national cultural asset at Aso Shrine collapses in Kumamoto quake". Mainichi Shimbun. 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
  32. ^ "Quake damages roof, walls at Kumamoto Castle". Asahi Shimbun. 2016-04-15. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  33. ^ "Archived copy" 熊本城 地震で「しゃちほこ」なくなる [Kumamoto Castle: The Earthquake Destroys the Castle's 'Sachihako'"] (in Japanese). NHK. April 15, 2016. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "The Janes' Residence Kumamoto | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide". www.japanvisitor.com. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  35. ^ "明治4年の西洋建築 「ジェーンズ邸」が倒壊" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on April 15, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  36. ^ Hoffman, Mark (12 May 2016). "April's Japan earthquake insured damage could top $1 billion". Business Insurance. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  37. ^ "Kumamoto quake residential insurance claims paid hits $3.2bn". Artemis. Steve Evans Ltd. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  38. ^ "Japan earthquakes breach walls of 400-year-old Kumamoto castle". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  39. ^ "Chain reaction activated separate fault zone in 2nd huge quake ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion". Archived from the original on April 17, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  40. ^ a b asia.nikkei.com/Features/Kyushu-earthquakes/Unusual-quake-cluster-worries-Japan
  41. ^ "Kyushu". Introduction to the Landforms and Geology of Japan. GLGArcs. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  42. ^ "Seismic activity could move east, trigger quakes in active faults". The Asahi Shimbun. The Asahi Shimbun Company. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  43. ^ "Small eruption seen on Mount Aso after latest quakes". The Japan Times. Reuters. April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  44. ^ Otake, Tomoko; Aoki, Mizuho; Yoshida, Reiji (18 April 2016). "Questions and answers: The Kumamoto earthquakes". The Japan Times Online. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  45. ^ "Small-scale eruption at Mt. Aso in Kumamoto not related to quakes: volcanologist". The Mainichi Newspapers. Mainichi, Japan. April 16, 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  46. ^ "Volcanic Warnings". Japan Meteorological Agency. Japan Meteorological Agency. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  47. ^ "Aso Volcanic Warning Level Lowered to Level 2, Entry Allowed Up to Mt. Aso Rope Way Asosan-Nishi Station". Kumamoto Prefectural Tourist Board. 熊本県観光課. Retrieved 16 April 2016.

External links

2016 in Asia

This is a list of events in Asia in 2016.

Akamizu Station

Akamizu Station (赤水駅, Akamizu-eki) is a railway station on the Hohi Main Line operated by JR Kyushu in Aso, Kumamoto, Japan.

Aso Shrine

Aso Shrine (阿蘇神社, Aso-jinja) is a Shinto Shrine in Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. Aso is one of the oldest shrines in Japan. This shrine holds several Important Cultural Properties, including Ichi-no-shinden (一の神殿), Ni-no-shinden (二の神殿), and Rōmon (楼門).

The Aso Shrine was heavily damaged in the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. The shrine's rōmon (tower gate) completely collapsed. The haiden (worshiping hall) also collapsed.

Aso Station (Kumamoto)

Aso Station (阿蘇駅, Aso-eki) is a railway station on the Hōhi Main Line in Aso, Kumamoto, Japan, operated by Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu).


A foreshock is an earthquake that occurs before a larger seismic event (the mainshock) and is related to it in both time and space. The designation of an earthquake as foreshock, mainshock or aftershock is only possible after the full sequence of events has happened.

Futagawa-Hinagu fault zone

The Futagawa-Hinagu fault zone (布田川・日奈久断層帯, Futagawa Hinagu Dansōtai) is a series of faults in Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan, which was responsible for the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. It consists of two fault zones along the west coast of Kumamoto, stretching over 100 km, making it the longest fault zone in Kyushu. Parts of the fault were selected as natural monuments following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.

Higo-Ōzu Station

Higo-Ōzu Station (肥後大津駅, Higo-Ōzu-eki) is a railway station on the Hohi Main Line operated by JR Kyushu in Ōzu, Kumamoto, Japan.

Ichinokawa Station

Ichinokawa Station (市ノ川駅, Ichinokawa-eki) is a railway station on the Hohi Main Line operated by JR Kyushu in Aso, Kumamoto, Japan.

Japan National Route 325

National Route 325 is a national highway of Japan connecting Kurume, Fukuoka and Takachiho, Miyazaki in Japan, with a total length of 138.5 km (86.06 mi). During the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes, the Great Aso Bridge collapsed.

Kawasemi Yamasemi

Kawasemi Yamasemi (かわせみ やませみ) is a two-car limited express train operated by Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) in Japan.

Kumamoto Castle

Kumamoto Castle (熊本城, Kumamoto-jō) is a hilltop Japanese castle located in Chūō-ku, Kumamoto, in Kumamoto Prefecture. It was a large and well fortified castle. The castle keep (天守閣, tenshukaku) is a concrete reconstruction built in 1960, but several ancillary wooden buildings remain of the original castle. Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the three premier castles in Japan, along with Himeji Castle and Matsumoto Castle. Thirteen structures in the castle complex are designated Important Cultural Property.

Kumamoto earthquake

Kumamoto earthquake may refer to:

1889 Kumamoto earthquake

2016 Kumamoto earthquakes

Kyushu Shinkansen

The Kyushu Shinkansen (九州新幹線, Kyūshū Shinkansen) is a Japanese high-speed railway line between the cities of Fukuoka and Kagoshima in Kyushu, running parallel to the existing Kagoshima Main Line and operated by JR Kyushu. It is an extension of the Sanyo Shinkansen from Honshu. The southern 127 km (79 mi) was constructed first because the equivalent section of the former Kagoshima Main Line is single track, and thus a significant improvement in transit time was gained when this dual track section opened on 13 March 2004, despite the need for passengers to change to a Relay Tsubame narrow gauge train at Shin-Yatsushiro for the remainder of the journey to Hakata. The northern 130 km (81 mi) section opened on 12 March 2011 (although opening ceremonies were canceled due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami), enabling through-services to Shin-Osaka (and with a change of train, Tokyo).The construction of the first section (from Takeo-Onsen to Isahaya) of the West Kyushu Shinkansen route to Nagasaki, approximately 45.7 km (28.4 mi) in length, began in 2008, with construction of the 21 km (13 mi) section from Isahaya to Nagasaki commencing in 2012. The entire line is due to open by March 2023. Service was proposed to be provided by Gauge Change Train (GCT) trainsets, which are designed to operate on both existing narrow gauge lines and standard gauge Shinkansen lines; however, technical issues with the bogies is likely to delay GCT introduction until 2025, and initial service options are now being investigated, such as a 'relay' service.

Odawara Castle

Odawara Castle (小田原城, Odawara-jō) is a landmark in the city of Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

Seta Station (Kumamoto)

Seta Station (瀬田駅, Seta-eki) is a railway station on the Hōhi Main Line operated by JR Kyushu in Ōzu, Kumamoto, Japan.

Tateno Station (Kumamoto)

Tateno Station (立野駅, Takeno-eki) is a railway station in Minamiaso, Kumamoto, Japan. It is jointly operated by JR Kyushu and the Minami Aso Railway and is a transfer station between the JR Kyushu Hōhi Main Line and the Minami Aso Takamori Line. The station is also noted for the three-stage switchback which trains need to execute in order to proceed to Akamizu, the next station on the Hōhi Main Line.

Uchinomaki Station

Uchinomaki Station (内牧駅, Uchinomaki-eki) is a railway station on the Hohi Main Line operated by JR Kyushu in Aso, Kumamoto, Japan.

Wrestling Hinokuni

Wrestling Hinokuni (レスリング火の国, Resuringu Hinokuni) is a professional wrestling event promoted by New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). The event was established in 2015 and took place in late April between the larger Invasion Attack and Wrestling Dontaku events. The event was held in Mashiki, Kumamoto and its name referred to the nickname of Kumamoto Prefecture, "Land of Fire" (火の国, Hinokuni). The 2016 event was canceled due to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes. In 2017, the event was replaced by Wrestling Toyonokuni, taking place in Beppu, Ōita. Wrestling Hinokuni returned in 2018 two years later after the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.

Ōzu, Kumamoto

Ōzu (大津町, Ōzu-machi) is a town located in Kikuchi District, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan.

As of October 1, 2016, the town has an estimated population of 33,793 and a density of 340 persons per km². The total area is 99.09 km².

The town is known for its Azalea (tsutsuji) Festival in the spring. There is a large Honda factory located near Ozu that employs people from around the world. Ozu is also known for its sweet potatoes (karaimo). The town also has one of the oldest homes in Kikuchi District that opens twice a year for tourists, a racing track, and is located on the edge of the caldera that surrounds Mount Aso.

Ozu was affected by the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.

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