… Followed by tsunami
A series of earthquakes struck Japan on Friday afternoon, at least one reached the 8.9° on Richter’s scale, triggering a powerful tsunami. Reports indicate there have been at least 300 casualties so far, although the number is expected to rise in the next few hours. Sendai city seems to be the most damaged area.
The quake also rocked the capital, Tokyo, which was one of the cities shaken by at least 35 subsequent aftershocks.
Airports and ports have been closed, while the Shinkansen ‘bullet’ train was stopped.
AFP said that the Japanese military has prepared 300 planes and 40 vessels to help with the rescue operation once daylight breaks on Saturday morning.
Mass evacuations took place after tsunami warnings were issued for the entire Pacific basin.
This is the largest earthquake known in Japan. There have been seven earthquakes in Japan over magnitude 8 since 1891.
In 1923 in the great Kanto earthquake which measured 7.9, 147,000 people died so our expectation is that many people will be killed and there will be extensive damage. Fortunately for Tokyo it’s a bit further north than the great Kanto earthquake was, which means the damage in Tokyo is likely to be much less.
A Pacific wide tsunami has been generated, so that will be impacting other countries in the north Pacific in the coming hours. Kevin McCue, seismologist and adjunct professor at CQUniversity.
March 11th, 2011.
Sources: AFP, Sky News, The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.