Investigation of cultural properties damaged by the 2007 Niigata-ken Chuestu-oki Earthquake

Main hall of Daisenji temple destroyed by the earthquake

 An earthquake of magnitude 6.8, maximum JMA seismic intensity 6+ hit the Chuetsu district of Niigata prefecture at 10:13am, July 16, 2007. In addition to large scale damage including total or partial destruction of houses and the severing of infrastructure that occurred in Kashiwazaki city and its vicinity near the epicenter, many cultural properties were also damaged. The Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques held an on-site investigation concerning the damage caused by the earthquake to cultural properties in order to obtain information about the condition of and factors for damage and to provide advice on emergency measures and future restoration plans. Investigation was conducted on September 4 and 5 at museums and built heritage in Nagaoka and Kashiwazaki cities.
 A museum in Nagaoka was first investigated. Fortunately, much damage was not observed on the exhibited and stored objects including flame-style earthenware. An interview with a curator revealed that a reconsideration of methods of exhibition and storage based on the experience of the earthquake in 2004 had produced good results even though large quake was experienced in the city.
 On the following day, investigation was conducted in Kashiwazaki, closest to the epicenter. The condition of overall damage was quite tragic, beyond comparison from that in Nagaoka, and the same was true of cultural properties, For example, the main hall of a temple had been totally destroyed.
 Large earthquakes have occurred frequently in 2007, beginning with the 2007 Noto Peninsula Earthquake. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo will continue to conduct research on protecting cultural properties from disasters and to make efforts, through actively publicizing information, so that many more people would be aware of disaster prevention.

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