There is an excellent source of information on the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It is
The text starts with
“On 11 March 2011 Japan was struck by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded by Japanese seismologists or elsewhere. The TV images and videos of the destructions caused by the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami are shocking. This is a time of great trial for the Japanese nation. Today our hearts are with Japanese people who lost their relatives and friends, lost their houses and property. We wish the country a rapid recovery from the earthquake/tsunami disaster.”
There is also a very important statement by the Chair of our AGU Natural Hazard’s Committee,
which includes the text
“Japan is a well-known earthquake-prone region and seismologically is among most well-studied areas of the Earth. As scientists dealing with natural hazards, we can ask: was an event of such a magnitude expected to occur near Honshu? The answer is negative. Neither the world’s most dense network of seismic stations nor the most dense network of GPS stations in the country alerted to this great earthquake. No earthquake prediction was issued in this case, although the alert on the increased probability of magnitude 8 (and higher) earthquake was issued less than a year ago (and communicated to many seismologists around the world), but has been withdrawn in the beginning of this year……
Based on long-term observations, almost all seismologists were thinking that the largest earthquake in this region could be of magnitude 8. Looking at the seismic hazard map of the region (Fig. 2, courtesy of USGS) and the earthquake shake map (Fig. 3, courtesy of USGS), the answer of the question above becomes quite obvious: nobody expected an 8.9 earthquake in the region. The existing probabilistic seismic hazard assessments (PSHA) evidently suffer from the neglect of scenario-based hazard assessments, especially those associated with extreme events (PSHA failed to correctly evaluate the ground acceleration in the case of the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Haiti earthquake in 2010, and many others).”
This disaster provides even further impetus on the adoption of a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability assessment of risk associated with both human- and natural- geophysical events.