Until I saw the devastation from the Honshu Japan 8.9 earthquake on TV (CNN news) I couldn’t believe it. This was one of the most powerful earthquakes in recent world history (definitely in the top 4 or 5 since 1900). The earthquake struck over 230 miles off shore and yet was the most devastating earthquake in Japan’s recent history.
Now, there is no real way to predict where these major earthquakes or even minor ones are going to occur exactly, but if you check out the USGS website section on earthquakes you can get a lot of helpful information that will tell you where the majority of earthquakes occur. Plus you can also go back and see in the past where earthquakes have occurred and how much damage they caused along with news attributed to that specific year for earthquakes.
I have found the USGS earthquake website (earthquake.usgs.gov) to be a tremendous online resource both for just general knowledge and to find immediate information as to earthquakes that occurred in the past day or even hour. they also post warnings for possible tsunamis and plot paths of where the tsunamis are most likely to hit and how hard they will hit in those areas.
When looking up the recent earthquakes you’ll see a big patch that goes around the Pacific Rim or the fire or hot zone. This is where the majority of earthquakes occur in the world and this is also where the majority of the most powerful earthquakes occur in the world. I can quickly see where recent earthquakes have occurred.
Another neat function is the pager. This allows one to see the strength and location of both the earthquake and after shocks. The Honshu Japan earthquake had more then 30 aftershock earthquakes and interestingly enough they also had a 610 earthquake two days prior right off the coast of Honshu Japan. Maybe this precursor was a forewarning of something more massive to come?
And what I find amazing is how many earthquakes actually occur each and every day. I never knew that there were so many earthquakes that occurred around the world on a daily basis. I thought it was like there might be one a month or maybe a couple a year. No, there are actually hundreds of these earthquakes around the world and especially along the coasts of Alaska and California.
So maybe the idea of the big one in California really isn’t that far-fetched. In Japan they knew there was the potential of a very large earthquake but they always thought it was going to occur farther south than where this one occurred. But the good thing in Japan is unlike in most countries they are constantly training their citizens to be ready and prepared for earthquakes. They have monthly preparedness drills, they have walls for tsunamis, etc…
This is why there is only 1,000 or so people that died in this massive earthquake in Japan. If a earthquake similar to the Honshu Japan 8.9 one occurred in a country like India or China where they are less prepared or not prepared at all the death toll could have easily been in the millions. It is very unfortunate and I am very sorry that anyone died in this massive earthquake, but it is also a great testament to the preparedness of Japan as a country and it is also a warning to the rest of us of what can happen and will happen if we’re not prepared.
Japan is a whole is a very dense population on an island in the Pacific. Could you imagine if an earthquake somewhere to the Honshu Japan 8.9 or the 1960 Chile 9.5 (the strongest earthquake in recorded history) were to occur off the coast of New York City or Los Angeles, California? you couldn’t even begin to imagine the tragedy that could and would occur.
Earthquakes are a fact of life and if you want the best and most up-to-date information on them along with a great educational resource then you definitely need to check out the USGS earthquake website resource. I highly recommend it.