Article: Kanagawa prefecture: the tragic landslide experiment in 1971 that resulted in 15 deaths
“In 1971, The Science and Technology Agency of Japan undertook an experiment to explore the mechanisms of landslides, which of course are a very significant hazard in that country. The experiment consisted of the irrigation of a 20 metre long slope in order to trigger failure, located near to the city of Kawasaki. The aim was to capture the failure event, providing insight into processes and mechanisms of failure.
To witness this high-profile experiment, a news crew joined officials and scientists to watch the failure at the toe of the slope. Sadly, the failure that was triggered was both larger and more mobile than had been anticipated. The landslide mass overwhelmed the observers, burying them in the debris. There is a New York Times article about the landslide – it reports that 15 people were killed and another nine were seriously injured.”
This RLE offers a very different angle on November 2020 TOK Essay Prescribed Title #2. In this situation the search for answers to a “What if” question led researchers to take risks. The risks led to the death of 15.