Friday 18 March 2022

Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

The Japan Meteorological Agency recorded a Magnitude 7.3 Earthquake at a depth of about 60 km, about 60 km off the east coast of Fukyshima Prefecture, on Honshū Island, slightly after 11.35 pm Japan Standard Time (slightly after 2.35 pm GMT) on Wednesday 16 March 2022. The event was felt across much of eastern Japan and triggered a small tsunami, which was about 30 cm high when it reached the shore. Four people have been reported dead following this event, with a further 107 injured, and serious damage to a number of buildings. About 2 million people lost their electricity following this Earthquake, with over 4000 also losing water supplies.

The approximate location of the 16 March 2022 Fukashima Prefecture Earthquake. USGS.

Japan has a complex tectonic situation, with parts of the country on four different tectonic plates. Eastern Honshū area lies on the boundary between the Pacific, Eurasian and Philippine Plates, where the Pacific Plate is passing beneath the Eurasian and Philippine Plates as it is subducted into the Earth. 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 Honshū. Laurent Jolivet/Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans/Sciences de la Terre et de l'Environnement.

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