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Japan and Earthquakes

Japan and Earthquakes


Japan is one of the countries around the globe that are most affected by natural disasters. Two of the most expensive disasters in terms of loss, occurred in Japan in the years 1995 and 2011 with an estimated total loss of $180 billion. Various types of natural disasters strike Japan like earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruption and typhoons. The country has been going through years of disasters after disasters, which in turn affects its economy, over all development and life.

Volcanoes erupt when the oceanic tectonic plates, pass over another oceanic plate and due to the heat, melted substance called lava moves towards the surface resulting in the volcano to erupt. Almost ten percent of the world's active volcanoes are located within Japan.

Since the island is surrounded by water, hurricanes, or sometimes also called typhoons, are a very powerful and extreme category of storms, which can take over the land with high winds and storm surge. There have been multiple typhoons in Japan over the years that have been the cause of hundreds of deaths each time the disaster struck (Ferris, 2013).

Japan is known worldwide for its life taking seismic activities and years long history of earthquakes. Earthquakes are actually the stored energy of vibrations caused by the rubbing of two underground plates. At times, the sliding of plates is minor, but sometimes when the vibrations can longer hold together they come on to the surface and we feel the jolts that we term as earthquake. The shake that the quake causes can either last for a fraction of seconds or at times last for several minutes, there could be a single jolt or multiple quakes followed one after the other and at times the after shocks and tremors can be felt even for weeks. It is very important to keep track of the tectonic plates on a seismograph and the magnitude of the earthquake is measured on a Richter scale. The measurements of the earthquake on the Richter scale are very important as it can help predict how long the activity of the tremors will last and whether there will be any after shocks. The most severe earthquake recorded on a Richter scale was the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the coast of Japan and was a 9.0 magnitude (Norio and Ye et al., 2011, pp. 34--42) under sea jolt. Earthquakes cause a lot of secondary damage as well, a very common problem seen after an earthquake is fire. Due to the destruction of electrical supplies, a fire is started and it gets hard to put out the fire since the water pressure in the pipe lines are disrupted too (World-nuclear.org, 2014).

These earthquakes can generally cause tsunamis as well. Tsunamis are long and huge sea waves that can cover hundreds of kilometres in the open sea and the wave periods can vary between a few minutes to a few hours. Tsunamis just like any other disaster can over take any piece of ...
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