Japan Scientists Sound Alarm on ‘Creeping Fault’ Doctrine

Seismologists said Wednesday they have found clues as to why Japan’s 2011 mega-earthquake occurred on a fault previously deemed to be of little threat.

The findings have repercussions for the country’s earthquake strategy and for other locations, including California’s notorious San Andreas fault, with a similar seismic profile, they said.

Hiroyuki Noda of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and Nadia Lapusta of the California Institute of Technology based their findings on a computer model of the March 11, 2011 quake, which triggered a tsunami that killed about 19,000 people and wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, sparking the world’s worst atomic crisis in a generation.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off northeastern Japan in part of the so-called Japan Trench, where the Pacific plate ducks beneath the Okhotsk plate, on which the Japanese archipelago lies.

Read the rest of the story: Japan quake study sounds alarm at ‘creeping fault’ doctrine.

Japan helping US and Canada Dispose of Tsunami Debris

Japan has decided to offer 6 million dollars in total to the US and Canadian governments to help dispose of debris from the tsunami that hit northeastern Japan on March 11th last year.

About 1.5 million tons of wreckage is believed to have been washed into the Pacific Ocean after the tsunami, and some of it has already reached the Pacific coast of North America.

It is estimated that more marine debris will wash ashore the Pacific coastline starting from October.

The Japanese government had been considering ways to cover a share of the costs of disposal as a way to return the support the US and Canada provided for victims of last year’s disaster in Japan.

But there are no international rules stipulating how countries should share the costs of disposing of marine debris whose origins are difficult to identify.


Japan: Nankai quake scenario menaces Pacific coast

Wide swaths of the Pacific coastline stretching from Honshu to Shikoku may be hit by tsunami over 20 meters high if a newly feared megaquake occurs in the Nankai Trough, a Cabinet Office panel warned Saturday.

The new warning comes after the panel revised its 2003 estimate to reflect new findings from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region’s coastline last year.

The 2003 report said no areas would see tsunami higher than 20 meters. The updated report is based on the assumption that the earthquake will have a magnitude of 9.0.

Read the rest of the story: Nankai quake scenario menaces Pacific coast.

Japan: Family photos lost in tsunami debris are slowly reunited with survivors

In a large, bright room not far from the ocean that raged through this coastal Japanese city nearly a year ago, a handful of people with magnifying glasses pore over boxes of photographs of friends or loved ones.

The massive March 11 tsunami that leveled buildings and flattened towns along a wide swathe of northern Japan, including Ofunato, also took a more subtle toll, with hundreds of thousands of photographs lost to the churning waters.

But now these memories are slowly making their way back to their owners, thanks to the painstaking efforts of a team that cleans them of mud, dirt and oil.

Read the rest of the story: Family photos lost in Japan tsunami debris are slowly reunited with survivors.

Japan Recovery: Okushiri, Rebuilt After Quake, Is Cautionary Tale

Okushiri, Japan — On the night of July 12, 1993, the remote island of Okushiri was ripped apart by a huge earthquake and tsunami that now seem an eerie harbinger of the much larger disaster that struck northeastern Japan last March. Islanders still recall with horror how a wall of frothing black water raced out of the darkness to consume entire communities, leaving almost 200 people dead.

Officials hope to glean lessons from Okushiri’s experience.

In the half decade that followed, the Japanese government rebuilt the island, erecting 35-foot concrete walls on long stretches of its coast, making it look more like a fortress than a fishing outpost. The billion dollars’ worth of construction projects included not just the hefty wave defenses but also entire neighborhoods built on higher ground and a few flourishes, like a futuristic $15 million tsunami memorial hall featuring a stained glass panel for each victim.

But today, as Japan begins a decade-long $300 billion reconstruction of the northeast coast, Okushiri has become something of a cautionary tale. Instead of restoring the island to its vibrant past, many residents now say, the $1 billion spending spree just may have helped kill its revival.

Read the rest of the story: In Japan, Okushiri, Rebuilt After Quake, Is Cautionary Tale.

Japan’s tsunami-hit towns are mostly cleaned up but barren, with much work remaining

SENDAI, Japan — From 1,000 feet 300 meters up, the view of the tsunami-battered Japanese seaside communities shows striking progress: much of the rubble, crumpled cars and other debris is gone.

Yet seen from a helicopter Friday carrying Associated Press journalists, there are few signs of rebuilding eight months after the March 11 disaster, triggered by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake off the tsunami-prone coast.

What remains — the stark, gray emptiness where bustling towns once stood — is a sobering reminder of how much work still lies ahead.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s tsunami-hit towns are mostly cleaned up but barren, with much work remaining.

Up to 20 million tons of debris from Japan’s tsunami floating toward Hawaii

Some 5 to 20 million tons of debris–furniture, fishing boats, refrigerators–sucked into the Pacific Ocean in the wake of Japans March 11 earthquake and tsunami are moving rapidly across the Pacific. Researchers from the University of Hawaii tracking the wreckage estimate it could approach the U.S. West Coast in the next three years, the UK Daily Mail reports."We have a rough estimate of 5 to 20 million tons of debris coming from Japan," University of Hawaii researcher Jan Hafner told Hawaiis ABC affiliate KITV.

Read the rest of the story: Up to 20 million tons of debris from Japan’s tsunami moving toward Hawaii.

Japanese couple stuck with a giant tugboat in their front yard

OFUNATO, Japan — An elderly couple here are learning to live with a strange lawn ornament dumped in their front yard seven months ago in the tsunami that devastated Japan’s northeast coast.A 230-ton tugboat that is high and wide enough to cast a shadow over their house has become a tourist attraction, but Kinichi Oikawa, 82, and his wife, Shizuko, 80, want the boat owner to get the vessel off their property.But the owner of the Kazumaru No. 1 tugboat, which used to fight fires and haul massive freighters around the Ofunato harbor, cannot afford to move it.“We never imagined that a boat from the ocean below would end up in front of our house,” said Mrs. Oikawa, whose home has acquired the nickname the “tugboat house.”

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Japans builds mini-Noahs Ark to survive tsunami disasters

A small Japanese company has developed a modern, miniature version of Noahs Ark in case Japan is hit by another massive earthquake and tsunami: a floating capsule that looks like a huge tennis ball.

Japans Cosmo Power says its "Noah" shelter is made of enhanced fiberglass that can save users from disasters like the one on March 11 that devasted Japans northern coast, leaving nearly 20,000 people dead or missing.

Read the rest of the story: Japans answer to next tsunami: mini-Noahs Ark.

Camera Inside Car Captured Tsunami Wave

Immediately after the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, The Lede posted many videos as water engulfed whole communities on the country’s northeastern shore with lethal force.

But while the event is long past, one video we missed is worth highlighting now for the terrifying proximity it offers — recorded from the dashboard of a car swept up in the wave.

Read the rest of the story: Camera Inside Car Captured Tsunami Wave.