Massive earthquake shifts land in Japan

January 9, 2024  - By
Image: Maxar Technologies

Image: Maxar Technologies

A series of powerful earthquakes hit western Japan on Jan. 1, killing at least 55 people and damaging thousands of buildings, vehicles and boats, reported CNN. Japanese officials warn that more earthquakes could lie ahead.

Aftershocks continued to shake Ishikawa Prefecture and nearby areas after the initial magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the area.

According to Japan’s Geospatial Information Authority (GSI), the earthquake may have shifted land in the Noto region near the peninsula, where the ocean floor shifted and generated tsunami waves of about 80cm in height. GSI said preliminary figures indicate that an observation point in Wajima City in Ishikawa Prefecture saw the biggest shift, which moved about 1.3 meters west.

Land appears to have shifted about 20 centimeters to the northwest in the prefectures of Toyama and Niigata. Several centimeters of land shifts were observed in the Kanto-Koshin region and elsewhere.

Scientists have also been watching Japan from space, comparing satellite images taken before and after the earthquake.

On its latest pass, the ALOS-2 spacecraft reported the distance between itself and the ground had shortened as the Earth’s surface had risen up under the force of the tremor.

Fortunately, the uplift may have lessened the impact of the waves when they arrived at the shoreline, said GSI.

GSI plans to continue analyzing the data for other movements.

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