On February 22, a magnitude-6.1 earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing nearly 200 people and causing $12 billion in damage. About three weeks later, a massive magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck northern Honshu, Japan. The quake and tsunami killed about 30,000 people and caused an estimated $310 billion in damage. Both events are stark reminders of human vulnerability to natural disasters and provide a harsh reality check: Even technologically advanced countries with modern building codes are not immune from earthquake disasters.
Both events also offer lessons to be learned, as EARTH explores in the June features "Don't Forget About the Christchurch Earthquake" and "Japan's Megaquake and Killer Tsunamis." What could have been done to prevent or mitigate the damage in both countries? And what can similar locations around the world learn? Furthermore, how did the March temblor and tsunami off the coast of Japan complicate the picture of foreshocks and aftershocks?
Discover what these events are teaching scientists about earthquakes, and read other stories on topics such as what scientists are doing to try to get ahead of the mysterious disease that's killing bats in droves, what legacy can still be found in the sands of the D-Day beaches, and how the Japanese disaster may change the face of nuclear energy worldwide, all in the June issue.
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