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The Pearl Harbor Day Quake
Was No Aftershock For Japan

By Yoichi Shimatsu


Contrary to media reports, the Richter 7.3 earthquake that shook eastern Japan for some 5 minutes on Pearl Harbor Day, causing a 1-meter-high tsunami, was certainly not an “aftershock” of last year’s quake that triggered the Fukushima meltdowns.
The Richter 8-plus seismic event of March 11, 2011, occurred in the Pacific Trench, near where the edge of the Pacific Plate slips under the Eurasia Plate. The epicenter of the recent quake of December 7 was located more than 100 kilometers to the east of the trench and on the sea floor of the Pacific Plate itself.
A Google map (below)), posted by the Australia Broadcast Corporation, shows that the epicenter was inside a wrinkle along a diagonal southwest-northeast axis in the seabed. This long crease appears to be a submarine rift valley, where the seabed is being split apart by tectonic stress, as the plate edge lurches toward and under the undersea shelf off the Tohoku coast.


Volcanoes Under the Sea and On Land
Tracing this groove further to the northeast, one comes across a peak rising from the rift valley. That is likely a dormant volcano, which erupted when the underlying deep rock was split apart long ago, releasing magma or lava.
The other end of the groove, which is cut off by the Pacific Trench, points toward the southern Hamadori coast off Ibaraki Prefecture, site of the Tokai-mura nuclear plant. That coastal area is not far from the northern Hamadori coast of Fukushima, location of the two TEPCO nuclear plants, and Miyagi Prefecture with the Tohoku Electric’s Onagawa nuclear facility. The 1-meter-high wave landed at the 311 tsunami-ravaged port of Ishinomaki, east of Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture.
What it all means is that Japan is entering another phase of land-building by titanic forces against which human technology pales. The other older line of undersea volcanoes, parallel to the rift valley, was created at about the same time that subduction pressure forced magma to the surface of the Honshu landmass, resulting in the formation of huge volcanic ranges - Nikko, Bandai, Adatara and Zao - that comprise the backbone of the Tohoku region.
Land-building is an unstoppable destructive force in the periodic rebirth of the Japanese archipelago. Quakes and volcanic eruptions have wiped out human settlements on many occasions and promise to do so again, sooner than later. Without these violent acts of nature however, Japan would not exist.
Geophysics of Creation and Destruction
As indicated by the Pearl Harbor Day quake, what is happening is a much larger geophysical movement, with quakes being just symptoms of unseen subterranean forces that are inexorably redrawing the map of Japan, the Euro-Asian Continent and the Pacific Basin. The earth below our feet is in constant motion, which we with our short lifespan fail to notice. Terra firma is an illusion. Like stones in the mud, we are deaf to the symphony of earth changes all around us.
The 311 disaster, unimaginable in its vastness, was only one small piece of a larger geophysical jigsaw. For example, the recent tunnel collapse on the Central Expressway section in Yamanashi Province, west of Tokyo, was due to bolt-loosening caused by the March 15, 2011, earthquake in the Mount Fuji region, four days after the 311 disaster. That quake occurred on a completely different network of fault lines than from the 311 temblor, a key point that still goes unnoticed by the Tokyo authorities and the expressway engineers puzzling over the tumbled ceiling panels and smashed vehicles.
On a visit to Mount Fuji in early October, local residents told me about how the March 15 quake knocked out roadways, smashed buildings and triggered landslides far inland. While washing headstones at the family cemetery, I detected black grime inside the south-facing inscriptions in the granite blocks. As it turns out, Mount Fuji has been splitting apart down its southern face and venting steam through dozens of cracks.
The Central Expressway tunnel is located just north of Mount Fuji, and the hills there were formed by ancient eruptions of the landmark volcano, which is now overdue for another huge blast that will effectively divide Japan into two halves and destroy the infrastructure of the Kanto Plain under hot ash and poisonous gas.
Slightly to the southeast on a little peninsula, where the slope of Fuji meets the Pacific, lies the Hamaoka nuclear plant. Hamaoka Point is hammered by at least five typhoons every year, meaning that if it is disabled by Mount Fuji eruptions and a quake along the nearby Suruga Bay fault line, powerful winds will sweep the radiation release directly into the Yokosuka U.S. Navy base, Yokohama and Tokyo, forcing more than 35 million residents to flee ­ a disaster greater than anything Godzilla is capable of. And the survivors will have only one direction of escape - toward Fukushima.
Dump the Pro-Nuclear Madmen
Anyone who suggests that nuclear power stations are safe in this land of catastrophe is, simply stated, out of his mind and should be put away in a psychiatric ward. The nuclear proponents have no place in politics, government, public works or the scientific establishment, since the risk of any further radiation exposure is the final blow to the continuance of life in Japan. The puny designs of madmen have zero chance of survival against the titans of molten rock or, in Japanese mythology, against the gigantic salamander reawakening under a trembling archipelago.
The Japanese Archipelago was created by tectonic movements and volcanic eruptions,   and its shoreline shaped by tsunami. These geophysical movements have wiped out human settlements repeatedly over the past 30,000 years and, judging from the destruction along the Tohoku coast, that process continues with bigger disasters on the way.
The Pacific seabed is being ripped asunder, promising the creation of volcanoes across Japan eight times taller than the eroded snow-capped mountains of the Tohoku. The superheated steam from the magma flows will lift the Fukushima radioactive sludge from the Pacific sea floor and into the jet stream, dooming North America and Europe. Insects and humans must move themselves out of the way or be annihilated without a trace. Unfortunately, with the amount of radioactivity pouring out of Fukushima into that rift under the sea, you can run, you can swim or you can fly - but there’s no place left to hide.
Author: Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times Weekly, is a science writer and health consultant to surviving residents of Fukushima.





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