March 16, 2011

facts on earthquakes


click HERE to get FACTS on the Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis of 2011, with info on damage and destruction, economic impact and links to resources

[ scroll down to see an infographic on the March 2011 Japan earthquake's global reach ]

If you find this useful, please give credit and link back! Please play nice, don't plagiarize.
A lot of time and effort went into researching this, I would love it if you left a comment and let me know if you'll be using the info somewhere. Thanks! 

(info on Japan earthquake, most deadly quakes, earthquake magnitude classes etc)

The March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake was the most powerful one ever to have hit the country since records began 140 years ago. It ranked as the joint fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and was nearly 8,000 times stronger than the 6.3 quake that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, in February 2011, and killed about 165 people.

* Magnitude: 9.0
* Epicenter: near the east coast of
Honshu island, Japan. 129km (80 miles) east of Sendai; 177 km (109 miles) ENE of Fukushima; 373km (231 miles) NE of Tokyo.
* Years since a quake of this magnitude has hit Japan's plate boundary: 1,200
* Depth of quake: 24.4 km (15 miles)
* Duration of strong shaking reported from Japan: 3-5 minutes
* Number of large foreshocks: 4 on March 9 (magnitudes 7.2 , 6.0, 6.1, 6.1)
* Number of confirmed aftershocks: 401
* Distance Honshu island is said to have moved after the quake: 2.4 meters
* Change in the length of a day cause by the quake's redistribution of Earth's mass: 1.8 microseconds shorter
* Warning time Sendai residents had before tsunami struck: 8-10 minutes. Sendai was one of the worst hit cities.

This map shows the intensity of shaking and damage at 14:46 local time
near the east coast of Honshu, Japan's main island, on March 11, 2011.
Indigo-blue represents weak to light shaking and no damage.
Red represents violent to extreme movement with heavy to very heavy damage.
Oranges represent very strong to severe shaking causing moderate damage.
[ USGS image of March 11 Japan earthquake via Scientific American ]

An energy map provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the intensity
of the tsunami in the Pacific Ocean caused by the 9.0 earthquake which struck Japan on March 11, 2011.
Thousands of people fled their homes along the Pacific coast of North and South America as a
tsunami triggered by the quake  reached the region but appeared to spare it from major damage.
Photo: REUTERS/NOAA/Center for Tsunami Research
[ NOAA map of March 11, 2011 Japan quake via Ottawa Citizen ]
Scroll down to see an infographic on the global reach of the earthquake from LiveScience
link to PBS docu on Japan's killer quake (broadcast March 31, 2011)

A 9.0 earthquake in the US?
Could what happened in Japan happen in the US? University of Colorado seismologist Roger Bilham thinks so. He says the Japan quake "is almost a template for the magnitude 9.0 earthquake scientists expect to rock the Oregon-Washington coastline". There, 9.0 earthquakes happen every 300 to 600 years from northern California to the Canadian border. Since the last one occurred 300 years ago, the next could strike any time now or not for another 200 years.
Japan's megaquake is template for US shock: Roger Bilham (Bloomberg)

Top 5 earthquakes recorded since 1900 (USGS)
9.5 - Chile, May 5, 1960. Over 1,600 killed, 2 million left homeless
9.2 - Prince William Sound, Alaska, March 27, 1964. Quake and tsunami killed 128 people
9.1 - Sumatra, Dec 26, 2004 (some estimates put it as 9.3). Quake and tsunami kill more than 220,000.
9.0 - Kamchatka peninsula, Russia, Nov 4 1952
9.0 - Japan, 2011 (first classified as 8.9, upgraded to 9.0 on March 13)
(a list of the top 15 strongest earthquakes since 1900 from the USGS website)

What are the earthquake magnitude classes?
Great;  > =8
Major; 7 - 7.9
Strong; 6 - 6.9
Moderate: 5 - 5.9
Light: 4 - 4.9
Minor: 3 - 3.9
Micro: < 3
[USGS: earthquake magnitude class]

Seismologists use a logarithmic scale to record earthquakes. The Richter scale measures energy released by a quake. An increase of one unit of magnitude represents a 32-fold increase in energy released. This means that a gap of two steps, from 5 to 7, represents an earthquake some 1,000 times stronger. Quakes likely to cause the most destruction measure 7.0 and above.
[ BBC: How to measure earthquakes ]

Magnitude and damage
9.0 — Causes complete devastation and large-scale loss of life.
8.0 — Very few buildings stay up. Bridges fall down. Underground pipes burst. Railroad rails bend. Large rocks move. Smaller objects are tossed into the air. Some objects are swallowed up by the earth.
7.0 — It is hard to keep your balance. The ground cracks. Roads shake. Weak buildings fall down. Other buildings are badly damaged.
6.0 — Pictures can fall off walls. Furniture moves. In some buildings, walls may crack.
5.0 — If you are in a car, it may rock. Glasses and dishes may rattle. Windows may break.
[ Scolastic: Reading the Richter scale ]

Every year, there are up to 2,000 quakes that can be felt by people. A tremor occurs in Japan at least every five minutes.There are an estimated 20 major quakes in the world every year, according to the US Geological Survey. There are an average of 150 earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 and higher worldwide every year.

Japan accounts for about 20 per cent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or greater. It’s situated on the “Ring of Fire” arc of volcanoes and oceanic trenches which partly encircles the Pacific Basin. Tokyo, with a population of 12 million, sits on the junction of four tectonic plates: the Eurasian, North American, Philippine and Pacific. The sudden bending or breaking of any plate can trigger an earthquake.

If you find this useful, please give credit and link back! Please play nice, don't plagiarize.
A lot of time and effort went into researching this, I would love it if you left a comment and let me know if you'll be using the info somewhere. Thanks! You can also get updates to this blog by leaving your email address through this form.
Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner
Here's a infographic look at the science basics of Japan's earthquake and tsunamis.
infographic from LiveScience

related posts
* FACTS: Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011
* Economic impact of Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis 2011
* Damage caused by Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis 2011
* Japan earthquake, tsunami: How to help
* facts on earthquakes
* facts on tsunamis
Sources for the full post on facts about the Japan earthquake, tsunami, nuclear crisis March 2011: Washington Post, CNN, Bloomberg, Ottawa Citizen, National Geographic, Reuters, BBC, buzzle, Wikipedia, USGS, Scolastic, Scientific American

If you found this useful, please consider linking back to this post. Thank you.

leave me a comment
follow me / subscribe
check out my other posts

Related links

Buy 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake: 100% of procceds go to the Japanese Red Cross Society
Google Person Finder 2011 Japan Earthquake (you can use this to locate or provide info about a victim)
Volunteer interpreters (Japan Association of Translators) 
Donate with PayPal: Japan earthquake and tsunami relief
Yahoo! link to where you can donate: Japan earthquake and tsunami: How to help
Japan earthquake tsunami: How to help ~ liberal sprinkles (links to resources, places to donate, raffles and giveaways)

How to protect yourself in an earthquake and emergency numbers for Japan (in 24 languages)
72 hour emergency preparedness kit DIY (Tipnut)

Earthquake in Japan (The Atlantic)
Epic waves, earthquake shock Japan (National Geographic)

BBC Japan earthquake portal 
Timeline on Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis (Reuters)
Updates on the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (The Lede, NY Times)  lots of videos, also of tsunami hitting US
video: Japan tsunami engulfs everything in its path (Daily Telegraph)
Magnitude 8.9 Near the East Coast of Japan, USGS podcast 
10-year-old girl Tilly Smith saves 100 tourists from 2004 tsunami at Thai beach (Daily Telegraph)
Japan markets and economy after Kobe earthquake (Reuters)
Advanced economies at advantage in disaster (Reuters via The Montreal Gazette)

facts, info, videos on tsunamis (National Geographic)
USGS earthquake FAQ
earthquake and tsunami facts (MCEER, SUNY Buffalo)
seismicity in Japan (wikipedia)
for kids
how to survive a tsunami (wikiHow) this is actually also very good for adults
Fema for kids: tsunamis
(USGS) Earthquake for kids
Geology - Plate tectonics (Yahoo! kids)
Talking to your child about the earthquake in Japan ( Kid's doctor)


Felicity said...

This is THE most informative piece of writing on earthquakes that I've read.

Thank you for posting,


Nikkiie said...

Thanx for the research came very handy for my science homework

Post a Comment