• Kyodo


A deep-sea drilling vessel has collected rock samples from 820 meters below the seabed near the epicenter of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology said.

The maritime research agency said Friday the samples could be from an area forming part of the fault that triggered the magnitude 9.0 earthquake, and that analyzing them could help predict future major quakes off the Pacific coast.

An international research team led by Kyoto University conducted the drilling aboard the Chikyu deep-sea exploration vessel in an area 200 km from the Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture, the agency said.

The samples are the first taken from below the seabed at the boundary of two plates in the Japan Trench, which lies off the Tohoku region, it said.