Researchers have released the worrisome results of a study showing that there is a 70% possibility of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hitting Tokyo in the next four years and a whopping 98% possibility that it could happen in the next 30 years. It has been almost a year since a devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the coast of Japan and took the lives and homes of thousands of people, and to prevent the same widespread damage from happening, Japanese scientists have been working hard to predict the foreseeable future of another quake. But as you can see, the prognosis is not an optimistic one.
Last year’s quake was the fourth largest in recorded history, triggering nearly 700 aftershocks of 5.0 magnitude or greater. This increase in tectonic activity created a massive rupture in a fault area nearly 300 miles long, completely changing the pressure and stress of the upper plate and rendering them more prone to shifting. Japan is also at risk simply because of its geographical location. The country and neighboring areas rest on or around four tectonic plates - the Pacific, Philippine Sea, Eurasian, and North American – making it one of the most seismically active places on earth.
As for preparations, the Japanese government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion is constantly working to reinforce buildings, homes, and the capital’s infrastructure. Buildings in Tokyo held up surprisingly well in last year’s quake and will continue to be constructed with natural disaster in mind.
images via creative commons user kordian and fotopedia