Friday, October 25, 2013

7.3 Magnitude Quake Strikes Off Honshu Japan

A 7.3 quake just occurred off of Honshu, Japan, very near the epicenter of the deadly 2011 quake that caused a massive tsunami, and prompted a nuclear power plant disaster at Fukushima Daiichi. The quake was registered at approximately 17:10:16 UTC. A tsunami alert has been issued, however the predicted size is only about 1 meter (around 3 feet), nowhere near as powerful as the devastating tsunami of the 2011 disaster.

No damage or injuries have yet been reported, however this quake comes on the heels of a years long nuclear disaster at the crippled power plant, where hundreds of thousands (perhaps more) gallons of contaminated radioactive water has been spilling into the Pacific Ocean. So far, there are no reports of how this quake has or has not affected the power plant.

Shaking was likely very lightly felt on the main Japanese island, and due to the shallow depth of the quake, this is unlikely to affect any volcanoes in the region, although time will tell. There are growing concerns by geologists in recent years that an eruption from the famed Mt. Fuji (Fuji-yama) could be close, or imminent in the coming years, and any large quake in the vicinity could be a catalyst for such activity. This particular quake however does not seem to be close enough to Fuji to affect it in this manner.

The aftermath of this quake will likely consist of still more aftershocks. Aftershocks from the massive 2011 quake are still occurring in the area, and it is possible that this 7.3 quake is a result of that previous event, however geologists are likely to classify this as an independent event.

The subduction zone bordering Japan is one of the earth's most active and dangerous. It lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, and produces Japan's volcanoes, and is very much responsible for the existence of Japan itself. Quakes in this area are large, and common.

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