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Ishii

Imaging Japan’s Earthquake: Q&A with Miaki Ishii

Q&As

Miaki Ishii is an associate professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University who uses North American seismometers to understand how the magnitude 9 earthquake in Japan in March 2011 started and spread. On Tuesday, April 24, Dr. Ishii will visit the Museum to discuss what scientists know about this earthquake and what they have left to learn. She recently answered a few questions.

What geological forces caused the 2011 earthquake in Japan?

Miaki Ishii: At the site of this earthquake, the Pacific plate is colliding with the North American plate—that part of Japan, believe it or not, is considered part of the North American plate. When two things bump into one another, you have stress buildup, and to relieve it, there are earthquakes. In this case, a lot of stress had accumulated for over 1,000 years, and it was released all at once in a huge quake. Many faults failing at once also made this a large event.

Tags: Earth, Q&A

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