The earthquake that struck Japan’s east coast is estimated to be one of the biggest ever recorded.
There have been a few that were slightly bigger, but they have been well away from built up areas. Euronews spoke to geophysicist Rene Crusem.
He said: ‘‘The earthquake is probably the fifth biggest that has ever been registered since measuring equipment has been around. It really is exceptional. Gradually, the average magnitude of the aftershocks that will follow will slowly decrease. There could be, from time to time, a stronger one, but nothing in principle is expected of the magnitude that we saw today. But, the region is certainly going to remain active for a number of days, if not weeks. Now, what we see sometimes, and this cannot be predicted, is that one quake zone could have a knock on effect on another further away. This remains a possibility, but not a certainty. In any case we don’t have any way of making such predictions. For Japan, the tsunami has already passed, the damage is done, there won’t be another. However, the tidal wave crosses the Pacific.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘Which Teutonic plates are still moving?’‘
Rene Crusem: ‘‘It’s the Pacific plate which is sinking under Japan. Predicting earthquakes is extremely difficult. If there should be another quake it will be in the same place off the East coast of Japan. The stronger the quake, the less often they occur. Therefore, this tremor, as I’ve said, was exceptional. A quake of this kind, happens once every 10 years, every few decades, thus statistically speaking, we shouldn’t see one as big as this for a few years.’‘