[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 3-May-2013
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Contact: Nan Broadbent
nan0604@msn.com
408-431-9885
Seismological Society of America

Tohoku earthquake and tsunami focus of BSSA special issue

SAN FRANCISCO, May 3, 2013 The 2011 Tohoku earthquake is the best recorded and most studied giant earthquake, resulting in a remarkable suite of observations. A special issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (BSSA) captures the latest progress in understanding what happened when this massive M >9 earthquake struck offshore of Japan and produced a devastating tsunami that claimed almost 20,000 lives and precipitated the world's second worst nuclear power plant disaster.

"While not the final word, this special issue synthesizes the latest understanding of an extraordinary event that forced us to think more deeply about the processes at work and what can be expected from these large events," said Thorne Lay, one of seven guest editors of the special issue and professor of earth sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz.

The special BSSA issue contains a broad cross-section of 30 detailed investigations and syntheses of the rupture process, seismic radiation, geodetic deformations, tsunami waves, pre- and post-earthquake perturbations of the crustal medium, and regional and global aftershocks produced by the earthquake.

The 2011 Tohoku event is the fourth largest seismologically recorded earthquake and the largest known earthquake to have ever struck Japan, a country that has a several thousand year documented earthquake history. Expecting the region to produce no larger than about M 8.5 earthquake, the M 9.0 event caught most scientists by surprise and the ensuing tsunami overwhelmed many coastal tsunami defenses designed for smaller events like those of the past few centuries.

Highlights include:

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This BSSA special issue reflects the great societal impact and scientific importance of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Published by the Seismological Society of America (SSA), BSSA is the premier journal of advanced research in earthquake seismology and related disciplines. SSA is an international scientific society devoted to the advancement of seismology and the understanding of earthquakes for the benefit of society.



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