JAPAN FINALLY got "THE BIG ONE"
By Kevin Stoda
For years, Japan has been awaiting "the Big One". Well, that event has arrived. On the one hand, there has been a lot of devastation and too much loss of human life. On the other hand, where good housing and earthquake resistant building technologies were developed, those regions did rather well, i.e. considering that Japan was hit by both an 8.9 (Richter Scale) Quake followed by a massive tsunami and hundreds of aftershocks all along Honshu's northeast coast.
So far, the great Sendai Earthquake of 2011 has left over 250,000 people living in temporary shelters. There have already been over 1300 official deaths--and many more peoples missing or not accounted-for across the northeastern Japanese prefectures of Miyagi and Fukushima. International rescue efforts are under way.
When I lived and worked in Japan in the early 1990s, I lived in Itoigawa City, which gives its name to the most infamous dividing line on Honshu, the largest island of the Japan archipelago. That fault line is called the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line (ISTL). A lot of research in preparation for a "Big One" have centered upon this point where the Asian and North American tectonic plates come together.