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Running head: REPORT & ANALYSIS

Term Paper- Report and Analysis Charlene Covarrubias GEOG 1700

REPORT & ANALYSIS Term Paper- Report and Analysis Earthquake

May 11, 2011 at 2:46 a.m. Japan encountered their biggest earthquake yet. According to CNN Library (2013) the earthquake was a magnitude of 9.0, which is classified as great on the

magnitude scale. The earthquake hit off of the coast of Sendai, Japan and was caused by a downward

movement of the Pacific Ocean Plate going down under Japans Trench causing friction, or tension, between the two of them, which then caused the earthquake. This earthquake was big enough to land in the top 5 biggest earthquakes that has struck Earth in recorded history since the 1900s. After the first earthquake hit there were continuing effects. According to CNN Library (2013) these were some of the events that occurred afterwards and stood out the most to me:
Credit: NASA/Ohio State University and Karl Tate

March 12, 2011- Magnitude aftershock hits the Nagano and Niigata prefecture

REPORT & ANALYSIS -After shock with a magnitude of 6.3 hits the west coast of Honshu March 13, 2011- People living within 6.2 of Fukushima Daini began an evacuation March 14, 2011- An explosion at the Daiichi plant No. 3 reactor causes a building wall to collapse March 15, 2011- Third explosion at the Daiichi plant in four days damages the suppression pool of reactor No. 2

Aside from the above list there were numerous after shocks. More that 900 aftershocks can come from a magnitude quake and can last for years. There were three aftershocks with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater within 45 minutes of the quake (Spacey, 2011).

The direct effects that this earthquake caused was the homes and businesses collapsing, as well as Daiichi plant collapsing, the explosions of the Daiichi plant, cracked streets, a tsunami, and the numerous civilian deaths. More than 1,000 people were estimated to have died in the region of the original disaster after the earthquake struck, but close to 18,000 people were killed across Japan by both the tsunami and earthquake; 1,599 of those deaths were in the


Fukushima Prefecture (Smith, 2013). If the people who were located near and around Sendai did not live in that region this natural process would not have been considered a natural disaster. Due to the amount of damages towards the buildings and deaths of humans, it is classified as a natural disaster or hazard. Analysis Earthquakes are unpredictable and although seismographs can detect some signs of earthquakes and give reasonable warnings it does not mean that it can give accurate readings or prevent people from being harmed by giving enough time for an area to evacuate. Depending on a seismograph to determine the safety of the citizens is not reliable; understanding that this region of the world is victim to many other earthquakes, however, gives a small prediction that an earthquake of this magnitude would happen eventually and allow the public to take action on creating more earthquake prone homes and businesses. According to Spacey (2011) Japans earthquake warning system sent a warning to Tokyo residents 1 minute before the quake hit, other than that no other information was found on what predictions were made before the earthquake. Warning systems such as seismographs were used but they were ineffective. With Japan sitting near the Pacific Ocean Plate it is common for earthquakes to occur in this area. Many earthquakes have happened throughout the history of Japan causing Japan to be better prepared and aware of these possible earthquakes. Japan is at risk of future earthquakes, the Japan Trench and Pacific Ocean Plates will continue to move and cause either smaller subductions or a larger subduction like the one that happened in 2011. I dont think that the earthquake was caused by human activity; but portions of the deaths were. With the risk of the nuclear power plant being within the area of the earthquake peoples lives were put in danger. The reason why the earthquake was worse in 2011 rather then 40-50 years before that is because

REPORT & ANALYSIS population in this area has increased and because they were not at risk of having the nuclear power plant risk the lives of many. According to Oskin (2013) the countrys stringent seismic building codes and early warning system prevented many deaths from the earthquake, by stopping high-speed trains and factory assembly lines. Another thing that Oskin (2013) mentioned was that people in Japan received texted alerts of the earthquake warning on their cellphones. The residences of Japan were also prepared with some of their buildings having resistance to earthquakes. Tsunami

The earthquake lifted the sea floor by 30 feet causing displacement of the water. This displacement caused the

tsunami that expanded away from the earthquake site. The tsunami rose to the height of 133 feet at Miyako and made it up to 6 miles inland at Sendai. The total area covered by the tsunami was 217 sq. miles. The residents of Sendai residents had around 8 minutes until the tsunami was to hit, this allowed only 42% of the people to evacuate. At least 101

designated tsunami evacuation sites were hit by the waves (Spacey, 2011). The tsunami reached


as far as Hawaii and set off warnings throughout South America, Canada, Alaska, and the U.S. (National Geographic News, 2011). If the earthquake did not affect some people then they would be affected by the tsunami, while some will be lucky enough to get away. Analysis The tsunami that hit was predictable, one give away was that earthquakes tend to cause tsunamis because of the displacement of the water. I am unaware if any of these predictions were made publically because the people who were struck by the earthquake were too busy with getting to safety and the amount of damage to buildings and loss of electricity would result in televisions and radios from not working properly. There are warning systems in order to detect whether a tsunami will hit. Buoys can detect uneven wave patterns and displaced seawater to determine if a tsunami or wave will be heading towards the shore. This type of event was bound to happen so the probability is large that it will happen again. This natural disaster was related to the physical environment by being caused by an earthquake. Human activity did not cause the tsunami to happen; instead it was caused by the Japan Trench pressing down under the continental plate carrying the islands of Japan. There was not enough time for preparation right after the tsunami since it was too chaotic from the earthquakes damages and people who were injured or dead.

Running head: REPORT & ANALYSIS Works Cited Library, C. (2012, September 20). Japan Earthquake-Tsunami Fast Facts. Retrieved December 5, 2013, from CNN: Oskin, B. (2013, August 22). Japan Earthquake & Tsunami of 2011: Facts and Information. Retrieved December 5, 2013, from LiveScience:

Rafferty, J. P. (n.d.). Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2013, from Britannica: Smith, A. (2013, September 10). Fukushima evacuation has killed more than earthquake and tsunami, survey says. Retrieved December 5, 2013, from NBC News: Spacey, J. (2011, October 30). 21 Scary Statistics About The 2011 Japan Earthquake. Retrieved December 5, 2013, from Talk: Tate, K. (2013, March 10). How Japan's 2011 Earthquake Happened (Infographic). Retrieved December 5, 2013, from LiveScience: