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Japan quake study sounds alarm at 'creeping fault' doctrine

Published on Jan 10, 2013 6:33 AM
 
Piles of vehicles which were swamped and destroyed by last year's March 11 earthquake and tsunami are seen at a devastated area in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, on Dec 8, 2012. Seismologists said on Wednesday they have found clues as to why Japan's 2011 mega-earthquake occurred on a fault previously deemed to be of little threat. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Seismologists said on Wednesday they have found clues as to why Japan's 2011 mega-earthquake occurred on a fault previously deemed to be of little threat.

The findings have repercussions for the country's earthquake strategy and for other locations, including California's notorious San Andreas fault, with a similar seismic profile, they said.

Hiroyuki Noda of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and Nadia Lapusta of the California Institute of Technology based their findings on a computer model of the March 11, 2011 quake, which triggered a tsunami that killed about 19,000 people and wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, sparking the world's worst atomic crisis in a generation.

The 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off north-eastern Japan in part of the so-called Japan Trench, where the Pacific plate ducks beneath the Okhotsk plate, on which the Japanese archipelago lies.

 
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