Earthquakes in Japan till March 2014

What level of Earthquake severity and what associated Tsunami’s had been experienced around the globe and in Japan prior to the March 2011 disaster ?

An interesting read in the Wall Street Journal ahead of an IAEA meeting in Vienna in August 2014 – queries  the Japanese emergency preparedness – and subsequently some have queried what was the IAEA position pre-Fukushima.

Surprisingly, neither the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami (9.1), nor the March 2011 Fukushima disaster (9.0), resulted from the largest earthquake in the world. That dubious honour is held by Chile from Valdiva down to Puerto Montt – with the devastating May 22 1960 Earthquake of Richter Scale magnitude 9.5. (i) – http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/events/1960_05_22.php .  That devastating earthquake from Valdiva down to Puerto Montt generated a Tsunami which was felt across the wider Pacific Ocean Tsunami, even as far away as Japan – with wave heights of reaching up to 11.5 metres. Puerto Montt lies along the Pacific Ocean (see photograph at right below), and in 1960 it was basically flattened, like Fukushima 50 years on. Although I had not heard of it before visiting Chile in early 2013, I found that memories of that 1960 disaster are still clearly etched in the memories of locals.

Nevertheless Japan has had its share of earthquakes of magnitude greater than M 8.0 – although only one of these had been experienced between 1970 and 2010 – the last one was in 1968.

The 1923 earthquake was considered to be very severe and is the theme for an exhibition in Melbourne Australia in 2014.

Japanese Earthquakes > M6 and associated Tsunami’s – 684 AD to 2012

  • 2012 12 07 – Kamaishi Japan – M 7.3 – Fatalities 3
  • 2012 01 12 – Izu Japan – M 6.8 – Fatalities 0
  • 2011 07 10 – Fukushima Japan – M 7.0 aftershock – Fatalities 0
  • 2011 04 11 – Fukushima Japan – M 7.1 aftershock – Fatalities 6
  • 2011 04 07 – Miyagi Japan – M 7.1 aftershock – Fatalities 4
  • 2011 03 11 – Tohuku Japan – M 7.1 aftershock
  • 2011 03 11 – Near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan – M 9.0Fatalities 20,352
  • 2011 03 09 – Tohoku Japan – M 7.2 – Fatalities 0
  • 2010 12 21 – Bonin Islands Japan – M 7.4 – Fatalities 0
  • 2010 02 26 – Ryuku Islands – M 7.0 – Fatality 1
  • 2009 10 30 – Ryukyu Islands, Japan – M 6.8

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