Saturday 13 April 2013

Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake in southern Japan.

Slightly after 5.30 am local time on Saturday 13 April 2013 (slightly after 8.30 pm on Friday 12 April, GMT), a Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km hit the Japanese island of Awaji, which lies between the larger islands of Shikoku and Honshu, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. This is a major Earthquake with the potential to cause a great deal of damage, though Japan is well prepared for such events, with almost all buildings having a degree of Earthquake-proofing, and the population taking part in regular Earthquake drills. At the time of writing 23 people have reported minor injuries as a result of this event as well as minor structural damage to some buildings.

The location of the 13 April Earthquake. Google Maps.

Damage to a shrine wall at Sumoto on Awaji Island. Kyodo/Reuters.

Japan has a complex tectonic situation, with parts of the country on four different tectonic plates. The south of the country lies on the Eurasian Plate to the south of which the Philippine Plate is being subducted along the Nankai Trough at a rate of about 43 mm per year, passing under southern Japan as it does so. This is not a smooth process; the two plates continually stick together, then break apart as the pressure builds up, causing Earthquakes in the process.

The movement of the tectonic plates beneath Japan. Volcano Lovers.

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