Earthquakes in Japan are so normal that some would even dare to say that dealing with tremors is already part of normal life in the country. That is not to say that they can be disastrous to the extreme – Japan has seen a number of mega-tremors in the past, including the magnitude 9.0 quake in March 2011 that caused the destructive tsunami right after and by extension the worst nuclear disaster the world has seen in a generation. But new research data has also shown that very large earthquakes can cause some other seismic action – they can cause volcanoes, even ones that are very distant from the epicenter of the quake, to sink.
According to two separate researches done in Chile and Japan and published on Sunday, major quakes in both countries have caused distant volcanoes to sink. The magnitude 9.0 earthquake that hit northeastern Japan in 2011 caused a sinking action – which the research team calls “subsidence” – in a group of volcanoes on the island of Honshu as far as 200 kilometers (120 miles) away from the tremor’s epicenter. The volcanoes sank in the ground up to 15 centimeters (9.3 inches), the Japanese study revealed. The 2011 Tohoku earthquake “caused east-west tension in eastern Japan,” said Youichiro Takada of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute at Kyoto University. “Hot and soft rocks beneath the volcanoes, with magma at the center, were horizontally stretched and vertically flattened. This caused the volcanoes to subside,” he added
In Maule, Chile, an 8.8-magnitude in 2010 caused a similar degree of sinking in five volcanic areas located 220 kilometers (130 miles) away from the center of the tremor. The Chile research team is led by scientists from the United States. One of the main questions for both teams was if the sinking action boosted the risk of eruptions in the affected volcanoes. Both teams have said that it was unclear as of now, meaning that more research needs to be done to answer that specific question.
[via The International News]
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