The people of Japan are still reeling under the havoc wrought by the earthquake and the resultant tsunami that struck on March 11, 2011. Live coverage of Nature’s fury by the news media acquainted the people living far away from Japan with the true dimensions of this double tragedy. According to the latest news reports, a team of geologists has concluded after studying the Pacific Ocean’s post-earthquake floor that the time is ripe for another devastating earthquake like the one that devastated Japan. What is appalling about the scientific finding is that it has pointed out the possible location of this imminent earthquake: Western seaboard of the USA! (As of July 2011, when this article is written.)
Western part of the USA becomes tsunami prone now
The impact of collision between the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate beneath Japan was so profound that it has tilted the Earth 16 centimeters away from its axis and increased its rotational speed somewhat in order to make the day shorter by 1.8 milliseconds. It has also made the North American Plate climb up on the Pacific Plate and as a result, the distance between Japan and North America has reduced by 2.4 meters.
The geologists have been predicting a ‘big one’, or the earthquake of very high magnitude in Japan for many years on account of tremendous opposite forces exerted by the North America and the Pacific Plates. The same type of ‘big one’ is also due on the North America’s western coast according to geologists. Here also a silent tussle has been going on amongst the Pacific Plate, the North American Plate and a third tectonic plate named Juan de Fuca which is moving opposite to and beneath the North American Plate. There is a nearly 1,000 kilometer long fault at the junction of these two plates. (Map, below). Geologists of California University have concluded after a long study of these plates that pressure has been gradually building up along the line of their convergence. It must find release through a high magnitude earthquake as the big portions of the plates break up as it has been happening once in 240-250 years.
|Juan de Fuca Plate|
However, since such a high magnitude earthquake has not taken place along the fault of Juan de Fuca and the North American Plates in the past 300 years, it is expected to be ominously imminent. The geologists expect such a major geological upheaval on the west coast of the USA any day within the next 50 years. They are of the opinion that the earthquake can be of intensity between 8.7 and 9.2, and the tsunami wave it will give rise to can sweep over the low lying western seaboard of not only the USA and the rest of North America but also sweep the east coast of Asia and Australasia.
Pacific Plate (Wikipedia)
North American Plate (Wikipedia)
Juan de Fuca Plate (Wikipedia)