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Fukushima: why we need to look back thousands of years to get better at predicting earthquakes

By Joanna Faure Walker, Senior Lecturer, Risk & Disaster Reduction, UCL
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Ten years ago, on March 11 2011, a devastating earthquake occurred along part of a fault that scientists believe had not ruptured for more than a thousand years. The quake triggered a tsunami that caused more than 15,000 deaths in Japan, as well as a serious nuclear accident at a power plant in Fukushima.

It’s common for earthquakes to occur along faults that haven’t ruptured for hundreds or thousands of years. This is because rates of tectonic…

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