August 19th, 2011

Less than an hour ago, a 6.5 quake (some reports put it at 6.8, but the USGS has 6.5) struck off of Fukushima, causing a 1.5-foot-tall tsunami in areas. The quake shook us fairly well here in Tokyo; Sachi and I felt it strongly, and it shook the TV as we were watching it. (Ponta didn’t budge, but this one had an epicenter pretty far away, if that makes any difference.) But we took it in stride, waiting to see how big it got and then going on with our business.

Now, normally, a 6.8 is a big deal. The Loma Prieta quake of ’89 was a 6.9, killing over 60 people. The 2003 quake in Bam, Iran, was a 6.6 and killed more than 40,000. There are at least 16 quakes in the past hundred years that killed 2000 or more people.

Today’s quake was one of the largest aftershocks of the 3/11 quake; there have been 71 aftershocks greater than 6.0, and 16 at 6.5 or greater. (This site has the best data.)

Now, I know it was a 9.0–but it’s been five months now. Exactly when do we see these things end?

  1. Troy
    August 19th, 2011 at 18:13 | #1

    The quake released ~60 years of built-up pressures.

    The earth does not run on human timescales.

  2. Stuart
    August 20th, 2011 at 05:18 | #2

    Four of the plates come together right at Japan so they have some of the most active tectonic activity.

  3. Tim Kane
    August 20th, 2011 at 23:03 | #3

    Well, the quakes will stop in 2013, I imagine. Mayan’s predicted 2012 to be the end of the world, so, you are just getting the appetizers now. Presumably, the world will turn all inside-out next year, and then we can start a new.

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