Japan has survived yet another attack by Mother Nature!
Saturday, just off the Japanese coast, there was a substantial earthquake. The magnitude was 7.8 on the Richter scale. Every level on the Richter scale is ten times more powerful than the previous level. There are only an estimated twenty earthquakes in that class every year. The quake began small and built in intensity until about 8:30pm (11:30 GMT). At its peak, buildings were swaying for about a minute! It was the largest earthquake to hit Japan since 2011 when there was a quake in northern Japan which was a 9 on the Richter scale!
The center of the earthquake was in an isolated spot in the Pacific Ocean about nine hundred kilometers south of Tokyo and 676 kilometers below the Earth’s surface. Chichijima is one of the closest inhabited places to the earthquake. Local, Yoshiyuki Sasamoto, said that first “a weaker quake hit and it stopped. Then the big one came. It was so strong that (he) couldn’t stand still and couldn’t walk”.
While there was no damage reported, the quake did cause a few snags. Runways at the Narita Airport were temporarily closed. Trains in Tokyo were stopped and delayed. A football match was even paused for a while.
It was the second earthquake this week. The first one, which took place on Monday, wasn’t as powerful but was much closer to the Earth’s surface. Japan lies where four tectonic plates meet. As a result, they experience 20% of the world’s strongest quakes yearly.
In the wake of the volcano eruption, another natural event was completely bewildering. Luckily there were no reports of damage or injuries and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported that there was no risk of a tsunami.
This last week has been a good reminder of the explosive and unpredictable geology of the country.