It is always interesting going online and seeing stories from around the world. I came across one earlier this week. It was a study that has been going on in the Tokyo, Japan area. There is reason to be concerned, as this study showed that a massive earthquake is 70 percent likely to hit Tokyo within four years.
The study by University of Tokyo seismologists bases the estimate on an increase in earthquake activity in the Tokyo region since last year’s March 11 disaster, when a magnitude-9 quake and subsequent tsunami about 140 miles northeast of the capital left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing. This was one of the worst recorded disasters in history, so studies like this are vital for our future.
The group at the university’s earthquake research institute said the number of moderate quakes in the capital region measuring magnitude 3 or bigger surged to 343 in the six-month period after the March quake, up from 47 in the previous six months.
Based on a theory that the probability of bigger earthquakes rises in proportion to an increase in smaller quakes, the team calculated a 98 percent likelihood of a magnitude 6.7 to 7.2 earthquake striking Tokyo over the next 30 years.
Stated differently, “When we ask when a probability of such a quake reaches 70 percent, then we get a 70 percent chance over the next four years,” said Shinichi Sakai, a seismologist on the team.
Tokyo is of course not new to earthquakes, as quakes are simply a part of life in Japan. Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. With that being said, there is a huge difference between an occasional earthquake and a devastating one. Tokyo’s last major quake was the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed 140,000 people. The study currently being performed by the university’s research institute is finding evidence of a quake like this that is bound to happen.
So what can Tokyo do? Prepare for it? Reinforce their buildings and other structures? Build a relief effort that includes ample supplies for this disaster? There are a number of things they can do I guess. One thing they can’t do… stop it from happening.
We can only hope that when it does happen it won’t have the affect on Japan that the March 2011 earthquake had. Japan and the rest of the world are still facing lasting effects from that earthquake.