Japan Earthquake "Unzips" A Road

From Twitpic, this photo by @lula_serginho, posted by @karen_quiroga shows how the massive earthquake in Japan causes a road to - for the lack of a better word, "unzip."


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Like it's been said, the road was built in two sections. That's why it split like that. As far as the yellow paint goes, it's brand new. They painted on both sides of the split with bran new yellow paint. It used to be white. Take a look at the larger photo, and you'll see.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/03/11/article-1365318-0D92D24D000005DC-318_964x591.jpg
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Plus what kind of troll would be sitting at home photoshopping up fake "cool" disaster photos of Japan right now, after such a tragedy has happened? You'd have to be quite the sociopath to find that amusing.
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Your first inclination is to think shopped, but roads are laid in strips, so the stress point would be right along the centre line. The ground under the sunken part could be broken up a lot more than it appears, as well, but the road is probably helping to hold it together.
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The tarmac is laid down in 1-lane wide strips. The earth underneath it is fairly soft, while the strips of tarmac are both strong and flexible, the join between the tarmac on the two lanes is fairly weak. When the ground moves and slips, the weakest part breaks and the road unzips like this.

Here's a photo from the recent Christchurch earthquake in NZ: http://www.novafm.com.au/photo_road-split-in-sumner_259344

Notice that the crack starts off to one side but quickly runs right down the middle of the road between the lanes. Just like taking a piece of paper, putting a sharp crease down the middle and pulling the two halves apart, the tear might start anywhere but will quickly run to the crease and the paper will come apart quickly and neatly.

No photoshop required.
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