… according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. Maybe. This seems not to be an official prediction stated my the JMA, as it does not appear on their web site, but agency director Takashi Yokata has made the statement to news agencies. There have been, of course, numerous aftershocks already. A 3.8 mag aftershock occurred in the immediate vicinity of the earlier 9.0 quake just as I was writing up this blog post. A 4.9 magnitude quake occurred a half hour ago. Oh, wait, there was another one down in Okinawa, 3.7 magnitude, a few seconds ago. It is impossible to keep up! Over the last 24 hours there have been close to 30 quakes ranging fom 3.0 to over 5.0 magnitude (most over 4.0) in Japan, most but not all more or less near the large recent quake.

Even though Japan gets lots of quakes, that’s a lot.

Over the last 48 hours, a 250 km radius circle around the cite of the 9.0 magnitude quake has had over 100 quakes of 3.0 mag or greater. Last year at the same time, the rate was closer to 6 such quakes ever 48 hours. The region is a bowl of shaking jello today. Normally, it is just semi-still jello.

Comments

  1. #1 Gerry L
    March 13, 2011

    World Figure Skating Championships are scheduled to start a week from now — in Tokyo. Apparently the venue is good to go, but ….

    With travel to Japan on the “don’t do it” list, it is probable that the event will be cancelled. The issue driving the move to cancel is the danger from the nuclear power plants. And if more violent quakes are expected?

    This is sad for the skaters who worked so hard to qualify. Almost like cancelling their Olympic event. It is also sad for the country, because hosting the world championship is a big deal. But dealing with the impact of the quake(s) and tsunami is certainly a higher priority for Japan than hosting a sporting event.

  2. #2 Athena
    March 13, 2011

    The USGS site is tracking shocks up to 6.+. That’s what the Christchurch tremor was. If Japan has another high magnitude earthquake and a tsunami, the country will be a total loss. Talk about a trifecta of disasters…

  3. #4 Joshua Zelinsky
    March 14, 2011

    Athena, that’s extremely unlikely for the country to be a “total loss”- even given this earthquake most of Japan was untouched. Even if one tripled the total number of deaths, it would be less than half a percent of the total Japanese population. Many major cities have been largely left intact. The situation is awful, and has potential to get worse. Let’s not make it seem even more severe than it is.

  4. #5 Joffan
    March 14, 2011

    Gerry L, I’d think that within another day or two the nuclear plants will be stabilized and all future possibilities known. They have been shutdown from criticality for four days now and the decay heat is reducing all the time. As soon as TEPCO recovers the ability to circulate water through the reactors, no further degradation would be feasible – barring another quake over 8.0 anyway, which would probably stop the skating event on its own without any other considerations.

  5. #6 Stephanie Z
    March 14, 2011

    Maybe they’ll be under control. It’s a bit early to be claiming that, though, given that the cooling system has recently failed in a third reactor. That means, by the way, that the decay heat may well not be decreasing.

  6. #7 Greg Laden
    March 14, 2011

    But the chance of getting killed in a tennis accident is still greater than your chance of getting killed by a nuclear meltdown, in the aggregate, so anyone who stays away form Japan now is irrational.

    But honestly, why isn’t this conversation about the propriety? If this was California it would be.

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