Research reveals cause of huge 2011 Japan tsunami, may improve forecasting

Source(s): Mainichi Newspapers Co., Ltd., the - Mainichi Daily news, the

By Takeshi Nemoto


The March 2011 earthquake was caused when a shallow area close to the Japan Trench slipped 50 to 80 meters, raising the seabed and generating a huge tsunami. Before the disaster, shallow areas were considered safe from major slips. To determine the cause of such a massive slip, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) deployed the Deep-sea Scientific Drilling Vessel "Chikyu" in 2012 to collect pieces of the fault for analysis.


Historical and other data are currently used to predict the chances of a large earthquake and its intensity. Following the Osaka team's results, it is possible that analysis of fault lines will improve the ability to forecast the size or intensity of tsunamis and earthquakes, reducing the effects of natural disasters.

Hirono said, "The Heisei era was affected by several large earthquakes, but researchers were only reactive to events. I want earthquake research to proactively reduce disasters as we advance into the new Reiwa era."

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