Ten years after the 3/11 disasters — which upended long-held views about where megaquakes were likely to strike — scientists are developing new tools to better understand the threat, while others are digging deep into the past in a search for geological clues, write Joel Tansey and Daniel Traylor.
The research is allowing scientists to envision a future where megathrust quakes — and the tsunamis they produce — are not only less unexpected, but perhaps, to a certain degree, predictable. But we’re not there yet.
And until we are, we’ll need to rely on ever more accurate quake and tsunami warnings to guide us. As Alex Jackson explains, tsunamis are trickier to detect early than earthquakes and alerts take longer to generate, but a lot of work is going into how to speed things up, with the help of AI.
But what if the quake that hit Tohoku 10 years ago happened along the Nankai Trough to the south of Japan? Well, experts are predicting this very scenario, so perhaps you should be prepared just in case.
Are you? Eric Margolis takes readers on a choose-your-own-adventure-style trip through what it might be like if and when the Nankai Trough “Big One” strikes — a trip that should send Japan residents scurrying out to stock that emergency go bag they never got around to filling.
Although there is much we can’t predict about quakes, there is much we do know and can do to prepare, commentator Robert D. Eldridge reiterates. The biggest concern of those who have experienced disasters is that as time passes and areas rebuild, people will forget the lessons learned and be doomed to repeat the same mistakes again, he writes. That must not happen.