oa Civil Engineering = Siviele Ingenieurswese - Less of a surprise : earthquake early warning in Japan : Japan earthquake

Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1021-2000



In the days following the magnitude 9,0 Tohoku earthquake which struck off the northeastern coast of Honshu, Japan, on 11 March this year (Figure 1; U.S.G.S. 2011), the world watched in awe as the extent of the destruction wrought by the strong ground motion and subsequent tsunami was revealed. It is estimated that more than 11 000 people lost their lives (Reuters 2011), with entire towns flattened and swept from the map. The region's infrastructure and industries sustained significant damage, the most publicised example being the nuclear energy sector. Yet, when the sheer magnitude of the quake is taken into account - it is the fifth largest quake yet recorded by modern instruments, and by far the largest in Japanese history (U.S.G.S. 2011; Rhea et al 2010; Utsu 1990) - it is surprising that the loss of life and damage to infrastructure was not significantly larger.

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