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Talks offer opportunity to learn from Japan earthquake

22 February 2018

Media Release

Talks offer opportunity to learn from Japan earthquake & tsunami


Communities on the East Coast of the North Island will have the opportunity to learn more about the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami and the establishment of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami early warning system from two leading scientists.


Dr Yoshihiro Ito, a scientist from the University of Kyoto will speak about what scientists have learnt from the Tohoku earthquake in Japan in 2011 and how we can apply this learning to understand more about our earthquake and tsunami risk in New Zealand.


“The 2011 Tohoku earthquake occurred offshore of Japan, along a subduction zone similar to the subduction zone that lies off the East Coast of New Zealand. We are attempting to learn more about how these subduction zones behave,” says Yoshihiro Ito


One way is by using an offshore cabled network of seismometers and seafloor pressure instruments that measure movement of the seafloor right along the Japanese coast.


This will be the topic of Dr. Kimihiro Mochizuki from the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo discuss. He will detail the development of Japan’s offshore-cabled observation systems and how these can be used for early warning for earthquakes and tsunami


Both scientists are currently working alongside New Zealand scientists to study the Hikurangi subduction zone –that marks the boundary of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates.


It is arguably New Zealand’s most significant active fault and is capable of generating a magnitude 8 plus earthquake that, in addition to widespread ground shaking, is also likely to produce a tsunami, coastal uplift and subsidence, landslides and liquefaction.


Kate Boersen of East Coast LAB says “Given these leading Japanese scientists will be in New Zealand, it is a great opportunity to hold these science talks so that people can come and learn from Japan’s experiences.”


The talks will be delivered in Napier and Wellington and those that attend will have the opportunity to ask questions of the scientists.


The science talks are being supported by East Coast LAB, Victoria University of Wellington and Hawke’s Bay Royal Society.


Wellington: 6pm on Wednesday 28th February at Rutherford House (RHLT1), Victoria University of Wellington

Napier: 6pm on Thursday 1st March at the LAB, National Aquarium of New Zealand


East Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary) is a collaborative project, which brings together scientists, emergency managers, experts and stakeholders across the East Coast to discover more about natural hazards and how they can affect us.

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