Japan deep sea drilling boat casts off to find origin of quakes
SHIMIZU, Japan (AFP) - A Japan-led team of seismologists set off on Friday on a mission to drill deep beneath the seabed in a search for the origin of earthquakes.
The scientists weighed anchor on Japan's deep-sea drilling vessel Chikyu, heading for a spot in the ocean off the Kii peninsula, south-western Japan, and a fracture in the Earth's crust known as the Nankai Trough.
Experts have warned the trough, which marks the place where the Philippine Sea plate slides under the Eurasian plate, is the likely source of a monster earthquake sometime in the near future.
Japan's government last year unveiled a worst-case scenario, warning a big quake in the area could kill over 320,000 people, dwarfing the March 11, 2011, quake-tsunami disaster.