When will Earthquakes in Japan stop? Understanding and Predicting future Quakes

This map of world Fault Lines shows the different types of faults around the world. Based on the fault line, a different type of earth movement can occur.

The USGS tracks earthquakes around the world and displays the recent activity on a world map.  Shortly after the major quake on 11 March causing the destructive tsunami, scientist reported a high probability of another large earthquake.  In the past month, there have been many large earthquakes.  The image on the left shows activity around Japan in the last week.  No one knows when or if the shaking will stop, hampering the efforts to control radiation leakage at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. More info on Nuclear Power

The cost of damage from this event is likely to exceed the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, but the loss of like was much greater in Haiti.

Events at Fukushima have sparked concern for nuclear reactors around the world and increased scientific study and analysis to improve earthquake resistance of reactor design and the support systems for the reactors.  The television program NOVA has an informative episode about the advancement of earthquake prediction by monitoring typical movement at fault lines, and identifying periods of time when the movement stops (indicating the edge of the tectonic plate gets hung-up on the adjacent plate).  Scientists are developing the ability to predict the likelihood of an earthquake and the magnitude in certain locations.

Some of the info above, and the description of earth movements below came from the Viewpoint blog.


A fault is a crack or fracture in the Earth’s crust along which movement has occurred. Movement along a fault produces earthquakes and seismic waves.

An earthquake is the vibration of the Earth, produced by the rapid release of energy. Energy radiates out from the focus.  The focus is the place within the Earth where the rock breaks, producing an earthquake.  Energy moving outward from the focus of an earthquake travels in the form of seismic waves.  The epicenter of an earthquake is the point on the ground’s surface directly above the focus.

There are 3 major types of quakes: Normal, Thrust, and Strike-Slip.


One comment on “When will Earthquakes in Japan stop? Understanding and Predicting future Quakes

  1. Pingback: Are Nuclear Power Plants in the US safe? | Enhance The Human Experience

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