We were at the boy’s school last Monday for their orientation, course selection and registration. As we left I asked the councillor how often quakes happen in Japan. He immediately started to discuss the huge quake and tsunami of last year – until I quickly vectored the conversation to my understanding that minor quakes are a weekly, if not daily occurrence. Had I read wrong as I had spent almost 4 weeks in Tokyo and felt nothing?
He mentioned that the year after the big quake was filled with minor quakes, but it had been quiet lately. According to the web, my reading was not wrong:
Earthquakes will often occur in Japan once every few days, give or take. This is because Japan is located on four tectonic plates, which are constantly moving and grinding together. This tectonic activity is also responsible for Japan’s mountain ranges and active volcano’s.
The vast majority of quakes in Japan are minor and do not cause much damage if any at all. This is due to the fact that Japan’s modern structures are built to withstand earthquakes to a certain scale. However, because of its high amount of tectonic activity, Japan is more prone to get major, destructive earthquakes than most other nations; most notably the Great Kanto Earthquake (in 1923), the 6.9 magnitude Kobe earthquake in 1995, and most recently the 8.9 magnitude quake that struck on 11th March 2011.
And as coincidence would have it, that night we were sitting around the dining room table and we felt the building sway every so slightly for 30 seconds. It felt odd, like you are a bit dizzy.
Living in a 4 year old building in a city with stringent earthquake building codes (more on their construction sites at a later date), it was not something that caused worry, it was just interesting.
I found myself looking on the internet trying to find an application or site dedicated to earthquake reporting (to see if this one had been reported and any statistics). I didn’t have any luck.
Yesterday in the office a colleague mentioned that after the big quake of 3/11 Apple released an earthquake notification for the Japan iPhone. He turned mine on. Last night I ensured it was on all of our phones.
Apple is truly innovative.