Great East Japan Earthquake

Tohoku Quake Fault SlipsOn March 11, 2011 at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) , an undersea, mega thrust earthquake, registering a preliminary 8.9 on the Richter scale, struck along the coast of Japan. After analysis, by seismologists, the temblor would be classified as a 9.0 magnitude earthquake.

Officially named, The Great East Japan Earthquake, the movement was so intense it accelerated the Earth’s spin shortening the length of the 24-hour day by 1.8 microseconds, threw the earth off its axis point by at least 8 centimeters, and moved part of Japan’s land mass by nearly 2.5 meters. The massive shifting of the plates created a deadly and unstoppable tsunami that destroyed entire cities, took tens of thousands of lives, and in some cases entire families were lost to the sea. It would also leave hundreds of thousands without homes, power, food, and water.

“This event is the best recorded great earthquake ever,” says Mark Simons, professor of geophysics at Caltech’s Seismological Laboratory and lead author of the study. For scientists working to improve infrastructure and prevent loss of life through better application of seismological data, observations from the event will help inform future research priorities.

Simons says one of the most interesting findings of the data analysis was the spatial compactness of the event. The mega thrust earthquake occurred at a subduction zone where the Pacific Plate dips below Japan. The length of fault that experienced significant slip during the Tohoku-Oki earthquake was about 250 kilometers, about half of what would be conventionally expected for an event of this magnitude.

Furthermore, the area where the fault slipped the most—30 meters or more—happened within a 50- to 100-kilometer-long segment. “This is not something we have documented before,” says Simons. “I’m sure it has happened in the past, but technology has advanced only in the past 10 to 15 years to the point where we can measure these slips much more accurately through GPS and other data.” California Institute of Technology Press Release

IRIS DMC data for the M9.0 TOHOKU, JAPAN event

map 

USArray Ground Motion Visualization:
http://www.iris.edu/spud/gmv/4841

Virtual array P-waves 

Event Plot suite:
http://www.iris.edu/spud/eventplot/4839

For more information on access to IRIS earthquake-oriented data, please refer to:
http://www.iris.edu/data/event/

Data from the IRIS DMC via WILBER

IRIS – Preliminary Data and Related Links

Japan.aftershocks.MP4

First three days of aftershocks from the March 11, 2011 M9.0 earthquake in Japan (mp4 video). Note that there have been so many aftershocks that not all have yet been located. Earthquake data from the NEIC website.

After the main earthquake, the ground continued to shake with hundreds of aftershocks, most of which were significant, measuring 4.0 or higher.  Below, is the list of significant earthquakes in Japan from January 1, 2011 to March 11, 2011 registered by IRIS.  No significant earthquakes were registered in February:

Date, UTC Time, Magnitude, Latitude, Longitude, Depth, Location

2011/01/05 00:57:30.5  ® 5.7  31.53  142.19  10.70 SOUTH    HONSHU

2011/03/09 02:45:18.2  ® 7.2  38.51  142.79  14.10 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/09 04:37:03.7  ® 5.7  38.67  142.99  25.50 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/09 18:16:15.5  ® 6.0  38.34  142.74  12.60 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/09 18:44:35.1  ® 6.3  38.49  143.19   2.00   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/09 21:22:18.0  ® 6.1  38.39  142.64  23.00 Near E. Coast of Honshu

2011/03/10 08:08:20.6  ® 5.7  38.63  143.30  17.20   Off E. Coast Honshu

2011/03/11 05:46:23.7  ® 8.9  38.32  142.37  24.40 Near E. Coast of Honshu

2011/03/11 06:15:45.9  ® 6.8  36.13  140.23  30.20 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 06:25:51.4  ® 7.1  38.07  144.56  26.50   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 06:48:47.4  ® 6.3  37.99  142.76  22.30   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 06:57:14.9  ® 6.3  35.76  140.99  30.20 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 07:10:59.6  ® 5.8  37.90  142.73  30.00   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 07:13:47.2  ® 5.9  36.05  142.35  28.50   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 07:25:33.2  ® 6.1  37.92  144.62  15.00   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 07:28:12.0  ® 6.1  36.80  141.91  24.00 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 07:38:26.6  ® 5.9  39.25  142.78  29.10 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 07:42:55.2  ® 5.8  36.41  141.92  29.90 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 07:54:44.8  ® 5.7  37.74  141.57  45.30 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 07:56:15.5  ® 5.6  37.13  142.31  34.00   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 08:01:58.7  ® 5.9  37.07  142.73  22.60   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 08:10:30.7  ® 5.5  36.39  140.63  30.40 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 08:12:04.9  ® 6.2  36.61  141.56  19.80 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 08:15:40.5  ® 6.2  37.03  144.61  27.80   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 08:19:24.3  ® 6.5  36.34  140.63  19.90 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 08:31:07.7  ® 6.1  37.43  141.20  25.00 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 08:40:56.4  ® 5.9  37.47  141.12  38.60 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 08:46:47.6  ® 5.5  37.42  142.45  37.30   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 09:09:14.6  ® 5.5  37.72  143.27  36.20   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 09:47:01.7  ® 5.5  39.69  142.94  29.70 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 10:10:34.8  ® 6.0  39.25  142.78  28.90 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 10:20:27.3  ® 5.6  36.97  142.29  21.70   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 10:28:44.1  ® 5.9  39.45  143.53  29.30   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 10:45:46.2  ® 5.5  38.47  143.59  41.10   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 11:00:51.2  ® 5.6  37.81  141.48  28.60 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 11:10:57.8  ® 5.5  35.53  141.86  27.60 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 11:13:12.3  ® 5.5  36.45  141.79  18.10 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 11:16:50.7  ® 5.5  36.61  141.89  36.60 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 11:21:02.0  ® 5.7  35.76  140.91  25.20 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 11:36:39.1  ® 6.5  39.28  142.52  11.60 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 11:44:28.2  ® 5.8  36.71  142.23  31.00   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 11:46:46.9  ® 5.8  36.03  141.06  47.50 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 11:56:16.0  ® 5.5  36.36  141.50  39.40 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 12:12:53.0  ® 5.9  38.05  142.54  21.60 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 12:49:01.4  ® 5.6  36.16  141.71  25.00 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 13:16:49.7  ® 5.8  36.30  141.73  30.10 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 13:34:36.0  ® 5.6  36.25  141.85  35.50 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 13:43:10.4  ® 5.6  38.97  144.21  25.20   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 14:00:37.7  ® 5.5  36.15  140.84  30.80 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 15:19:37.5  ® 5.6  36.23  141.86  25.00 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 16:11:26.5  ® 5.5  39.46  143.58   9.20   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 17:16:59.7  ® 5.5  37.11  144.14  26.40   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 18:11:24.4  ® 5.7  37.12  142.16  13.80   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 18:17:05.5  ® 5.9  36.22  141.69  25.40 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 18:59:15.1  ® 6.2  37.04  138.36   1.00 Near W. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 19:02:58.9  ® 6.1  39.32  142.87  24.70 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 19:24:28.5  ® 5.5  35.77  140.64  24.90 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 19:31:56.0  ® 5.5  36.96  138.37  10.30 Eastern Honshu
2011/03/11 19:46:49.4  ® 6.6  40.47  139.07   1.00 Near W. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 20:11:22.7  ® 6.3  39.03  142.65   8.70 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 20:23:43.7  ® 5.5  35.82  141.58  24.20 Near E. Coast of Honshu
2011/03/11 20:36:10.2  ® 5.5  37.84  142.85  24.90   Off E. Coast Honshu
2011/03/11 22:51:18.2  ® 5.8  37.81  144.97  25.00   Off E. Coast Honshu

 

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One thought on “Great East Japan Earthquake

  • June 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm
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