In this article, we will be looking at the top 10 biggest earthquakes in japan. We’ll look at when they happened and what caused them as well as how much damage was done.
What is an earthquake and how does it happen
An earthquake is the result of slippage along a fault, boundary, or break. Cracks are formed in the ground when rock surfaces on either side of the fault grind together.
The resulting energy waves are called seismic waves – these can cause shaking in the earth’s surface, which is what we experience as an earthquake.
Earthquakes can happen anywhere on earth, but most likely where there are faults at the surface of the Earth that have not been covered by water or ice for many years.
When water covers a fault, it removes some of the tension that was present to keep it stable. When the water drains away, the fault can move suddenly.
What is Magnitude Earthquake?
Magnitude is measurable for earthquakes. The magnitude of an earthquake has three different scales, Richter, Moment Magnitude and the Mercalli intensity scale. These are calculated by analyzing how much energy is released by the earthquake.
The magnitude is measured on a logarithmic scale of numbers that corresponds to the amount of power that is released by an earthquake.
For example, if an earthquake releases 10 times more energy than another one, its magnitude will be 10 times higher than the other one’s.
- The Richter magnitude scale is the most commonly used scale and is measured from the first three waves that are recorded on a seismograph.
- The Moment Magnitude Scale was developed in 1979 to measure earthquakes that have a low amplitude, such as those that happen offshore.
- The Mercalli intensity scale is used to measure the effects of an earthquake, rather than its magnitude.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has developed a seismic intensity scale called JMA Shindo, which measures the shaking of an earthquake at a certain location.
The magnitude of an earthquake is a measure of its size. It is determined by using a seismograph to measure the amplitude of waves that are then used to estimate the energy released by an earthquake.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 or higher can cause significant damage, while one with a magnitude of 8.0 or higher can cause widespread destruction and loss of life.
How to measure the magnitude of an earthquake?
The magnitude of an earthquake is a measure of the energy released at the source. The Richter scale measures earthquakes using whole numbers. Each number on this scale is about 32 times larger than the one below it. A quake with a magnitude of 2 would have 32 times less energy than a quake with a magnitude of 3.
The moment magnitude scale measures the energy released by an earthquake using a logarithmic scale. This scale is measured from negative 10 to positive 10. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7 would release 32000 times more energy than an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.
The seismic intensity scale (JMA Shindo) measures the shaking of an earthquake at a certain location. The scale ranges from 0 (not felt) to 7 (extreme).
The Mercalli intensity scale measures the effects of an earthquake, rather than its magnitude. This scale has 12 levels, from I (not felt) to XII (destruction complete).
Japan Earthquakes History
Japan has been struck by many powerful earthquakes throughout its history. Here are ten of the biggest and most destructive earthquakes to have ever occurred in the country.
The following is a list of the top 10 biggest earthquakes in japan The most destructive earthquake in the country’s history.
- The Great Kanto Earthquake
The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 had a magnitude of 8.3 and killed over 140,000 people. Tokyo also suffered extensive damage. The earthquake occurred at 2:28 pm on September 1, 1923, with an epicentre in Sagami Bay.
The location was near the boundary where the Eurasian Plate meets the North American Plate. There were about 20 seconds of shaking that created many fires in Tokyo.
One sees two versions of the event depicted in pictures taken from different vantage points: fire burning up from underneath buildings which burned themselves out; or alternatively, buildings crumbling outward, littering streets with debris and dust.
The earthquake caused great damage to buildings in Tokyo (then called Edo).
- The Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011
The Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011 was a magnitude 9.0 quake that triggered a devastating tsunami and killed over 20,000 people.
The earthquake occured at 14:46 on Friday, September 1, which is 3 hours and 56 minutes after the 2011 Iwate-Miyagi Nairiku earthquake.
The epicentre was 40 kilometres east of the Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture. It was 39 kilometres deep which resulted in destructive tsunamis with waves up to 10 metres high reaching about 6 miles inland to towns in Iwanuma, Natori, Ishinomaki, Onagawa and other prefectures near the northeastern coast of Honshu island.
The immediate effects of the quake and tsunami caused great damage to Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures.
One saw scenes of destruction throughout the Tohoku region, with houses being swept away by the tsunamis that struck coastlines in communities.
Also, fires broke out in some areas due to overturned stoves while light shaking was experienced as far away as Tokyo and Yokohama, in the neighbouring Kantō region.
- The Chuetsu Earthquake of 2004
The Chuetsu Earthquake of 2004 was a magnitude 6.8 quake that killed 68 people and injured more than 2,000 others. It occurs at 3:56 am local time on October 23rd with the epicentre in the Niigata Prefecture, about 62 miles northwest of Tokyo.
This earthquake was the most deadly to hit Japan since the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. The majority of the casualties were from the collapse of buildings, with many people killed when their homes collapsed on them.
Many parts of central and eastern Japan, including Tokyo and Yokohama, were affected by the quake. Some coastal areas also experienced a small tsunami.
- The Niigata-ken Seibu Earthquake of 2007
The Niigata-ken Seibu Earthquake of 2007 was a magnitude 7.3 quake that killed 6 people and injured more than 1,800 others. It occurred at 5:27 am local time on January 23rd with the epicentre in the Niigata Prefecture, about 62 miles northwest of Tokyo.
The quake was felt in many parts of Japan, including Tokyo and Yokohama. A tiny wave was seen in some coastal regions as a result of the Quake.
- The Nankai Trough Earthquake of 1946
The Nankai Trough Earthquake of 1946 was a magnitude 8.1 quake that killed 498 people and injured more than 12,000 others.
It occurred at 5:43 am local time on December 20th with the epicentre in the Tokai region, about 100 km southeast of Nagoya.
This was the deadliest earthquake to hit Japan since the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923. The majority of the casualties were from the collapse of buildings, with many people killed when their homes collapsed on them.
The quake was felt throughout much of central and eastern Japan, including Tokyo and Yokohama. There was also a small tsunami that was observed in some coastal areas.
- The Fukui Earthquake of 1948
The Fukui Earthquake of 1948 was a magnitude 7.1 quake that killed 2,046 people and injured more than 10,000 others. It occurred at 12:23 pm local time on January 28th with the epicentre in the Fukui Prefecture, about 100 km west of Kyoto.
- The Tokai Earthquake of 1707
The Tokai Earthquake of 1707 was a magnitude 8.0 quake that killed an estimated 30,000 people and injured more than 100,000 others. It occurred at about 2:00 pm local time on October 28th with the epicentre in the region of Ise Bay, southwest of present-day Nagoya.
- The Shizuoka Earthquake of 2005
The Shizuoka Earthquake of 2005 took place on July 16, 2005, at 4:46 pm local time, with an epicentre around 5 kilometres north of the city of Hamamatsu. This was a magnitude 6.2 quake that killed 41 people and caused widespread damage in the city.
The earthquake damaged historic buildings, wiped out power for about 20 minutes, caused landslides to cut off several major roads, resulted in fires that burned down many buildings at the Fukushima nuclear plant, also led to trains being delayed due to possible damage to railway lines.
There were no tsunami waves seen as a result of this earthquake.
- The Ibaraki-ken Seibu Earthquake of 1978
The Ibaraki-ken Seibu Earthquake of 1978 was a magnitude 6.8 quake that killed 9 people and injured more than 1,000 others. It occurred at 12:23 pm local time on January 28th with the epicentre in the Fukui Prefecture, about 100 km west of Kyoto.
- The Shimane-ken Sanin Earthquake of 2008
The Shimane-ken Sanin Earthquake of 2008 was a magnitude 6.2 quake that killed 2 people and injured more than 900 others. It occurred at 12:23 pm local time on January 28th with the epicentre in the Shimane Prefecture, about 100 km north of Hiroshima.
This quake was felt in many parts of Japan, including Tokyo and Yokohama. There was also a small tsunami that was observed in some coastal areas.
Below are Some More Massive Earthquakes that happen in Japan with lots of damage
The Northern Iburi Earthquake of 2000
The Northern Iburi Earthquake of 2000 was a magnitude 7.2 quake that killed 147 people and injured 10,000 others. It occurred at 5:00 pm local time on October 28th with the epicentre in the region of Iburi, about 280 km northeast of Tokyo.
The Japan Meteorological Agency estimates that this was one of the most powerful earthquakes to hit Japan in the 20th century, but there have been plenty since then.
The Gifu-ken Chuetsu Earthquake of 2004
The Gifu-ken Chuetsu Earthquake of 2004 was a magnitude 6.3 quake that killed 32 people and injured more than 2,000 others. It occurred at 12:23 pm local time on January 28th with the epicentre in the Gifu Prefecture, about 140 km north-northeast of Nagoya.
Earthquake in Japan 2020
The Tokyo Earthquake is a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck the Japanese capital on September 1, 2020. It occurred at a depth of about 30 kilometers (18 miles) and was felt throughout the city.
How to translate earthquake into Japanese?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the translation of earthquake will vary depending on the context and situation. However, some useful phrases to know include:
- 地震 (jishin) – earthquake
- 大地震 (daishin) – great earthquake
- 震災 (shinsai) – earthquake disaster
- The phrase 今すぐに避難する (imasugu ni hinan suru) means “to evacuate immediately”.
When was the last earthquake in japan?
Japan’s last reported earthquake occurred on June 3, 2019. The Japan Meteorological Agency registered a magnitude of 5.8 at a depth of 10 km near the city of Fukui. No tsunami warning was issued.
Why is Japan always have earthquakes?
Japan is located on the Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific Rim that is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Ring of Fire is the result of a tectonic plate boundary where the Pacific Plate slides beneath the Eurasian Plate. This interaction creates a lot of friction, which leads to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
How to prepare for an earthquake?
When an earthquake strikes, it’s important to be prepared. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe:
- Be familiar with the warning signs of an earthquake. Some common warnings include rumbling or shaking noises, windows and doors rattling, and feeling a “jolt” in the ground.
- If you are indoors, stay there. Do not run outside or go to another room. Move under a sturdy desk or table and hold on to it until the shaking stops.
- If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, power lines, and other hazards. Drop to the ground and protect your head and neck.
- Do not try to drive during or after an earthquake. Roads may be damaged or blocked.
- Stay away from damaged structures and be prepared to evacuate if necessary. Be aware that aftershocks may occur.
- Turn on the radio for updates from authorities. Follow any evacuation orders provided by local officials, and do not reenter a building until it has been determined safe to do so.
Is a 5.3 earthquake big?
No, 5.3 is not considered a big earthquake, but it can cause damage depending on the type of terrain that it’s located in.
Earthquake myths debunked
There are a lot of myths about earthquakes, but here are a few that are debunked:
- Earthquakes only happen in California: False
- Earthquakes can only be detected by seismographs: False
- A quake measuring 5.3 is big: False
- An earthquake cannot kill you: False
What is the most recent death toll from an earthquake in Japan?
The last recorded death toll attributed to an earthquake in Japan was 3,987 people killed in the April 2011 magnitude 8 Tohoku earthquake, which was the largest disaster in Japan since World War II.
Was there an earthquake in Japan 2020?
In 2020, Japan had four earthquakes that were as strong or stronger than a JMA magnitude 5. The agency’s seismic intensity scale categorizes the power that ground surface shaking can bring to your house during an earthquake and measures it on a 0-10 point rating based on how much people are jarred at their measured sites; with higher numbers representing stronger quakes.
How many times does Japan have earthquakes?
Japan typically experiences around 20,000 earthquakes each year. Of these, about 2,000 are strong enough to be felt.
Is Tokyo Earthquake prone?
No, Tokyo is not considered to be earthquake prone. Tokyo, being a coastal city with a high number of earthquakes along the Sagami Trough between Japan and the Izu Islands, does experience a fair amount of seismic activity.
Should I be worried about earthquakes in Japan?
No. Japan is earthquake prone, but it doesn’t mean that there are natural disasters for you to get worried about. If you’re vacationing in the country, anything besides an earthquake should be your biggest concern.
What to do if earthquake happens while sleeping?
If an earthquake happens while you’re asleep, don’t jump out of bed. If the room spins, it could make you dizzy and make things worse.
You might want to get under a table or desk with your head covered by something soft. Try not to move until the shaking stops – unless the debris is falling on top of you.
How Many Earthquakes in japan per Day
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), Japan had about 521 earthquakes per day.
The blog post has provided a lot of information on the types of earthquakes that happen in Japan, how to handle them if they occur while you are indoors or outdoors, and what precautions should be taken.
With all this knowledge at your fingertips, it’s likely that you will feel more prepared for any future disasters. If there is anything specific about earthquake safety that we haven’t covered yet please let us know-our team would love to chat with you.
We hope this article was helpful and answered some questions about the different factors involved in an earthquake occurrence.