Japan’s Epic Earthquake and Tsunami Disaster

March 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

Located in one of the most active seismic and volcanic zones in the world, Japan is frequently affected by earthquakes and volcanic disasters. This information has been obtained from Japan Meterological Agency, NHK, CNN, Reuters and the USGS. JMA operationally monitors seismic and volcanic activity throughout the country and issues relevant warnings and information to mitigate damage caused by disasters related to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. Please click on this as a link to refer to a pdf table explaining the Seismic Intensity Scale provided by the JMA to better understand what physically occurs during these earthquakes globally.

March 16, 2011:Mt. FujiA large earthquake (mag 6.2) occurred under Mt Fuji Volcano, Japan on 15th March at 10:31 pm, local time. The epicentre was located 7 km SSW of the summit. The focus was shallow at 10 km. Mt Fuji last erupted in 1708 and is still considered an active volcano. A 2004 Japanese government simulation determined that in the worst-case scenario, a major eruption of Fuji would cause 2.5 trillion (yen) in economic damage.

Mt Fuji being the highest mountain in Japan has a base diameter of 50 km. Fuji Volcano consists of three volcanoes: Komitake, Ko-Fuji (Older Fuji Volcano) and the present Fuji (Younger Fuji Volcano). A summit crater is 500 m across and 250 m deep

Over 200,000 people climb to the top of Mt. Fuji annually. There was an increase in seismic activity under Mt Fuji in 2000-01. A new eruption of Mount Fuji may be explosive like the 1707 eruption.

Mt Fuji is privately owned above the eighth station. Fujisan Hongu Sengentaisha, a Shizuoka-based Shinto shrine, was granted the land in 1609.

The Philippine Tectonic Plate, the Eurasian Plate (or the Amurian Plate), and the North American (or Okhotsk Plate) meet at Mount Fuji.

Mt. Fuji 1707 Eruption:On 26th October 1707 there was a magnitude 8.4 earthquake hit Honshu, Japan. This was followed by several smaller earthquakes around Mt Fuji. An eruption began on 16th December 1707 on the SE flank of the volcano accompanied by pumice fall. After 6 hours the pumice fall changed to scoria fall. On the first day of the eruption, 72 houses and three Buddhist temples were destroyed in the town of Subassiri 10 km from the volcano.

Violent eruptions were recorded between 25-27 December. The eruption ended on 1st January 1708. No pyroclastic flows or lava flows were formed during the eruption.

Tephra from the 1707 eruption fell over the south Kanto plain, Tokyo, and NW Pacific ocean 280 km from the volcano. The total volume erupted over 16 days was 0.68 cubic km of dense rock equivalent.

Earthquake Report: March 16 201115:32 JST 16 Mar 2011 15:29 JST 16 Mar 2011 Iwate-ken Oki M5.6
13:17 JST 16 Mar 2011 13:14 JST 16 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M5.6
12:55 JST 16 Mar 2011 12:52 JST 16 Mar 2011 Chiba-ken Toho-oki M6.0
10:48 JST 16 Mar 2011 10:44 JST 16 Mar 2011 Shizuoka-ken Tobu M3.2
10:10 JST 16 Mar 2011 10:08 JST 16 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.1
09:25 JST 16 Mar 2011 09:22 JST 16 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.5
08:43 JST 16 Mar 2011 08:40 JST 16 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Hokubu M3.9
06:18 JST 16 Mar 2011 06:15 JST 16 Mar 2011 Niigata-ken Chuetsu-chiho M4.0
06:07 JST 16 Mar 2011 06:04 JST 16 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Hokubu M4.8
05:56 JST 16 Mar 2011 05:53 JST 16 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Hamadori M4.5
05:33 JST 16 Mar 2011 05:30 JST 16 Mar 2011 Chiba-ken Toho-oki M5.7
04:56 JST 16 Mar 2011 04:53 JST 16 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M5.0
04:05 JST 16 Mar 2011 04:01 JST 16 Mar 2011 Miyagi-ken Oki M5.8
03:36 JST 16 Mar 2011 03:33 JST 16 Mar 2011 Gifu-ken Hida-chiho M4.0
03:22 JST 16 Mar 2011 03:19 JST 16 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M3.9
02:17 JST 16 Mar 2011 02:14 JST 16 Mar 2011 Shizuoka-ken Tobu M2.8
00:26 JST 16 Mar 2011 00:24 JST 16 Mar 2011 Sanriku Oki M6.0

As the white smoke and new blazes began at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi’s nuclear plants, Japan’s 77 year old revered emperor, Emperor Akihito, appeared on a very rare televised appearance, urging all of Japan to not give up hope as the country grapples with an epic earthquake, devastating tsunami and the rabid fears of radiation from a nuclear catastrophe. A televised appearance by an emperor in a formal sitting state is reserved for times of extreme crisis or war.

He explained that the hearts of the international community was with Japan and he was deeply moved by the Japanese people’s calmness and proper order.

March 15, 2011:
Kirishima Volcano
An eruption occurred at Kirishima volcano, Japan on 14th March 2011. The volcano is over 1300 km from the earthquake epicentre. Shinmoe-dake crater erupted ash and volcanic bombs, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate. The volcano last erupted in January this year. Many residents evacuated their homes from a town located 7 km from the crater at Shinmoe-dake. The eruption forced the cancellation of train services on the JR Nippo Main Line between Tano and Kokubu stations, on the Nichinan Line between Aoshima and Shibushi stations, and on the Kitto Line. Part of the Miyazaki Expressway remained closed off due to poor visibility. The eruption produced lava fountains, lava flows and ash emissions. Ash emissions reached a height of 25,000 ft.

Kirishima is one of Japan’s most active volcanoes. Kirishima is a group of 20 volcanoes located north of Kagoshima Bay. Those volcanoes include Takachihonomine, Nakadake, Ohatayama, Karakunidake, Tairoike, Ohachi, and Shinmoedake.

The volcanoes cover an area occupying an area of about 20 x 30 km elongated in the NW-SE direction. Solfatara are located on North slope of the Karakunidake.

An annual geomagnetic variation at Kirishima volcano is caused by seasonal changes in the near-surface heterogeneous magnetization due to a diffusion of atmospheric temperature change into the ground.

Earthquake Report: March 15, 2011
22:35 JST 15 Mar 2011 22:31 JST 15 Mar 2011 Shizuoka-ken Tobu M6.0
22:31 JST 15 Mar 2011 22:28 JST 15 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M6.2
22:13 JST 15 Mar 2011 22:10 JST 15 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.2
20:09 JST 15 Mar 2011 20:06 JST 15 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M5.2
18:54 JST 15 Mar 2011 18:50 JST 15 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M6.3
18:45 JST 15 Mar 2011 18:41 JST 15 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.4
16:51 JST 15 Mar 2011 16:48 JST 15 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.3
15:59 JST 15 Mar 2011 15:56 JST 15 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Hokubu M4.6
09:57 JST 15 Mar 2011 09:54 JST 15 Mar 2011 Akita-ken Nairiku-nambu M3.9
07:35 JST 15 Mar 2011 07:29 JST 15 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Hamadori M4.4
07:23 JST 15 Mar 2011 07:20 JST 15 Mar 2011 Nagano-ken Hokubu M4.4
07:07 JST 15 Mar 2011 07:04 JST 15 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.8
05:44 JST 15 Mar 2011 05:40 JST 15 Mar 2011 Niigata-ken Chuetsu-chiho M2.9
05:02 JST 15 Mar 2011 04:59 JST 15 Mar 2011 Tokyo-wan M4.1
04:32 JST 15 Mar 2011 04:28 JST 15 Mar 2011 Miyagi-ken Oki M5.0
04:07 JST 15 Mar 2011 04:04 JST 15 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.5
03:44 JST 15 Mar 2011 03:41 JST 15 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M5.6
03:38 JST 15 Mar 2011 03:35 JST 15 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.3
01:14 JST 15 Mar 2011 01:11 JST 15 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.3

Earthquake Report: March 14, 201120:10 JST 14 Mar 2011 20:06 JST 14 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.8
18:10 JST 14 Mar 2011 18:07 JST 14 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.8
16:29 JST 14 Mar 2011 16:25 JST 14 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.8
15:55 JST 14 Mar 2011 15:52 JST 14 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M5.2
15:47 JST 14 Mar 2011 15:44 JST 14 Mar 2011 Iwate-ken Oki M5.4
15:43 JST 14 Mar 2011 15:38 JST 14 Mar 2011 Niigata-ken Chuetsu-chiho M4.0
15:22 JST 14 Mar 2011 15:18 JST 14 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M5.3
15:16 JST 14 Mar 2011 15:13 JST 14 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M6.3
13:48 JST 14 Mar 2011 13:45 JST 14 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.7
12:12 JST 14 Mar 2011 12:10 JST 14 Mar 2011 Nagano-ken Hokubu M4.2
10:05 JST 14 Mar 2011 10:02 JST 14 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M6.2
08:56 JST 14 Mar 2011 08:53 JST 14 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.9
08:50 JST 14 Mar 2011 08:47 JST 14 Mar 2011 Nagano-ken Chubu M3.3
07:19 JST 14 Mar 2011 07:16 JST 14 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.3
04:30 JST 14 Mar 2011 04:27 JST 14 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.2
04:19 JST 14 Mar 2011 04:16 JST 14 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.9
02:31 JST 14 Mar 2011 02:29 JST 14 Mar 2011 Chiba-ken Toho-oki M4.8
00:14 JST 14 Mar 2011 00:10 JST 14 Mar 2011 Chiba-ken Toho-oki M5.0

March 13, 2011:
Japan’s Largest Earthquake and World’s 5th Largest Earthquake in it’s History & Massive Tsunami
Aftershocks continue in northeast Japan after the largest recorded earthquake in Japan’s history (mag 9.0). There are fears a meltdown may be occurring at one of the reactors of an earthquake-damaged nuclear power plant in northeast Japan, Fukushima Daiichi. Engineers based the conclusion on radioactive cesium and iodine measured in the air near the plant Saturday night. Japan’s nuclear safety agency rated the accident at four on the international scale of zero to seven. The 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States was rated five, while the 1986 Chernobyl disaster was a seven. So far the earthquake and tsunami has caused over 6000 fatalities and over 14,000 missing, presumed dead. In the small port town of Minamisanriku alone, some 10,000 people are unaccounted for – more than half the population of the town.

The Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan has told us to make certain to keep windows closed; cover all vents and air conditioners; use auto gas sparingly as it will be rationed; food and water is gone and now being rationed; all medical supplies have left pharmacy shelves bare. Upon entering a building, wipe yourself down with wet cloths to remove any possible radioactive debris.

Aftershocks continuing frequently – people feel nauseous and “seasick” from the constant movement.

Earthquake Report: March 13, 201123:32 JST 13 Mar 2011 23:28 JST 13 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.4
23:31 JST 13 Mar 2011 23:28 JST 13 Mar 2011 Niigata-ken Chuetsu-chiho M3.9
22:47 JST 13 Mar 2011 22:43 JST 13 Mar 2011 Sanriku Oki M5.0
21:47 JST 13 Mar 2011 21:44 JST 13 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M4.7
20:59 JST 13 Mar 2011 20:56 JST 13 Mar 2011 Ibaraki-ken Oki M4.8
20:41 JST 13 Mar 2011 20:37 JST 13 Mar 2011 Fukushima-ken Oki M6.0
18:56 JST 13 Mar 2011 18:52 JST 13 Mar 2011 Miyagi-ken Oki M5.5
18:30 JST 13 Mar 2011 18:25 JST 13 Mar 2011 Iwate-ken Oki M5.5

March 12, 2011
Japan’s Largest Earthquake and Volcanic Eruptions that have begun
The Great Japan Earthquake of 2011 (mag 9.0) and its aftershocks, are capable disrupting volcanoes large distances from the epicentre. Very large eruptions are possible after Great Earthquakes. It is possible for eruptions to occur anytime after the earthquake, and the high risk period will last for several months to several years. Japan owns 10% of the world’s active volcanoes. The closest active volcano to the earthquake is Narugo, 150 km WNW of the epicentre. Volcanoes near to the earthquake epicentre include:
Kurikoma (153 km), Zao (170 km), Hijiori (195 km), Azuma (200 km), Adatara (200 km), Iwate (205 km), Akita-Komaga-take (210 km), Bandai (220 km), Chokai (220 km), Hachimantai (223 km), Akita-Yake-yama (228 km), and Nasu (250 km).

The Aftershocks:The aftershocks began migrating south and are within 70 km of Tokyo and 200 km of Mt Fuji volcano. Mt Fuji last erupted in 1708.

The Tsunamis:Tsunamis from the great Japan earthquake have hit parts of the Pacific Ocean distant from the epicentre. Tsunami heights were 1.5 m in the Marquesas, 2.0 m Crescent City (California), 1.0 m Manus Island (Papua New Guinea), 1.4 m Hilo (Hawaii), 1.7 m Maui (Hawaii), 1.8 m Hokkaido (Japan), Vancouver Island (Canada), 1.3 m Midway Island, 0.65 m Saipan, and 0.7 m Vanuatu.

The Japan earthquake is the 5th largest recorded in the world. The top five earthquakes are: Chile mag 9.5 (1960), Prince William Sound, Alaska mag 9.2 (1964), Sumatra, Indonesia mag 9.1 (2004), and Kamchatka, Russia mag 9.0 (2004).

The search continues for survivors from the tsunami, this afternoon, the National Police Agency reported 3,771 deaths. Another 8,181 people are missing and 2,218 were injured, the agency said. The number of dead is expected to go up as rescuers reach more hard-hit areas.

Shell-shocked survivors huddled in cramped shelters, grieved over lost loved ones and worried about relatives who are missing across villages and towns inundated by the tsunami waves off the east coast of Honshu.

Frigid temperatures — including sleet over the decimated city of Sendai in northeastern Japan — have hampered rescue operations.

March 11, 2011
Japan’s Largest Historical Earthquake 9.0 and Tsunami
A great earthquake (mag 9.0) hit Japan on Friday 11th March 2011, at 2:46 pm local time. The epicentre was located offshore 130 km E of Sendai, in Honshu. The earthquake had a shallow focus at 24 km. A 10 metre high tsunami has hit the eastern coast of Honshu. Major tsunami damage was reported at Sendai. Narita airport in tokyo was closed. A tsunami warning was placed over the Pacific including Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Hawaii, Central America, and South America. Earthquakes of this magnitude can disrupt nearby volcanoes. Large aftershocks with magnitudes up to 7 are occurring. Many fatalities have been reported. This is the largest historical earthquake to hit Japan. The earthquake was preceded by four earthquakes in the two days prior to the Great Earthquake.
The earthquake sequence was as follows:
Magnitude 7.0 Wednesday, March 09, 2011 at 11:45:20 AM.
Magnitude 6.1 Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 03:16:14 AM.
Magnitude 6.0 Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 04:44:35 AM
Magnitude 6.0 Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 06:22:18 AM
Magnitude 9.0 Friday, March 11, 2011 at 02:46:23 PM

Earthquake Report: March 11, 2011 aside from the Great Earthquake03:16 JST 11 Mar 2011 03:14 JST 11 Mar 2011 Miyagi-ken Hokubu M3.5



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