Monday 5 May 2014

Tokyo shaken by Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake.

The Japan Meteorological Agency recorded a Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake at a depth of 160 km, off the south coast of the Kantō Region of Honshu Island, slightly before 5.20 am Japan Standard Time on Sunday 4 May 2014 (slightly before 8.20 pm on Monday 5 May, GMT). This is a large quake, though at a great depth (shock waves from Earthquakes lose energy as they pass through rock in any direction, including up), and it was felt across the Kantō Region, as well as adjacent areas of easter Chūbu Region and southern Tōhoku Region. There are no reports of any serious damage following this event, however seventeen people were reportedly injured, and delays were experienced on the train network.

The approximate location of the 4 May 2014 Kantō Earthquake. Google Maps.

Japan has a complex tectonic situation, with parts of the country on four different tectonic plates. The eastern Honshu area lies on the boundary between the Okhotsk, Eurasian and Philipine Plates, where the Okhotsk Plate is passing beneath the Eurasian and Philipine Plates as it is subducted into the Earth, and, beneath the Kantō Region, the Pacific Plate being subducted beneath the Philipine plate. This is not a smooth process; the rocks of the two plates constantly stick together, only to break apart again as the pressure builds up, causing Earthquakes in the process. 

The movement of the Pacific and Philippine Plates beneath eastern Honshu. Laurent Jolivet/Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans/Sciences de la Terre et de l'Environnement.

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