Guided by Japanese writings from an era of shoguns, an international team of scientists today reported new evidence that an earthquake of magnitude 9 struck the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada three centuries ago. Their findings are likely to affect the regions precautions against future earthquakes and tsunamis.
Writing in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, published by the American Geophysical Union, scientists from Japan, Canada and the United States summarize old reports of flooding and damage by a tsunami in 1700 on the Pacific coast of Japan. With the aid of computer simulations, they conclude that this tsunami must have been generated by a North American earthquake of close to magnitude 9. Such an earthquake would, in a few minutes, release about as much energy as the United States now consumes in a month.
The reports authors are Kenji Satake, of the Geological Survey of Japan; Kelin Wang, of the Geological Survey of Canada; and Brian Atwater, of the United States Geological Survey, based at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Harvey Leifert | American Geophysical Union
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