Earthquakes: Shaking Things Up In Japan


Eri Minamimoto, Staff Writer

Japan has one of the most occurring earthquakes in the world. When  we were children, we learned how to protect ourselves from earthquakes. Arriving here, I was very surprised we do have fire drills but we don’t have earthquake drills in America. So, I want to explain why in Japan we do have so many earthquakes and also how to protect ourselves from them.

First, why do they have so many earthquakes? One of the reasons for the earthquake is the location of Japan. Japan’s high number of earthquakes is due to its geographical location along the Pacific Ring of Fire.This 40,000 km long chain consists of at least 450 volcanoes. In Japan alone, there are around 265 volcanoes classified as potentially active.

Secondly, do you know what a tsunami is? A tsunami is caused when earthquakes occur underwater. In 2011, on March 11, the most sad thing happened. Out in the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not dramatically increase in height. But, as the waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights, as the depth of the ocean decreases. Sadness in Japan, suffering, anxiety followed when the Tohoku earthquake–7 intensity, magnitude 8.4–was observed. Out of more than 2 million people affected by this earthquake, most people have passed away by the tsunami. The height of the tsunami was more than 9.3m, which equates to about 393 inches. It’s impossible to escape if you don’t have experience with tsunamis. And, also, it’s very difficult even if you have experienced a tsunami. After the earthquake in 2011, the people who lived near the sea couldn’t use electricity, gas, or their water supply. All lifelines were stopped by the earthquake.

So, we must learn how to protect ourselves from earthquakes. Stay away from outer walls, windows, fireplaces, and hanging objects. If you are unable to move from a bed or chair, protect yourself from falling objects by covering up with blankets and pillows. If you are outside, go to an open area away from trees, telephone poles, and buildings, and stay there. When I  was in Japan, I practiced this a lot. We had to hide under the table. 

Therefore, I think education is important. If you don’t have knowledge of earthquakes, you don’t know how to protect yourself!