Lauren In Tokyo

Monday, September 06, 2004

It's shaking in Tokyo

There were two large earthquakes in Japan yesterday. One occured around 7:00 in the evening in the Wakayama area of Western Japan. The second one happened just before midnight in the same place. Neither earthquake was seriously damaging, though some injuries were reported. Tsunamis were also reported. Though I live all the way over in Tokyo, the earthquake was noticeable as a long, rolling shake.

Lately, Japan seems to be having more than its fair share of weather problems. This entire summer has been filled with typhoons and rain storms that have ended up flooding rivers and destroying property. Western Japan was hit by a major heatwave, the longest since they started recording weather here. Recently there was a volcanic eruption that raised fears of a larger eruption in the near future.

Situated on the edge of the Pacific Plate, aka the Ring of Fire, Japan is a hotspot for geologic activity. Anything from earthquakes to volcanoes to large landslides are not uncommon here. Also, Japan seems to be in the middle of the convergence zone of the warm Pacific Ocean airmass and the cold Asian airmass. This makes for abrupt weather changes and wild swings from cold to hot temperatures. Add to this that the mountain range running down the middle of Japan holds the cool moisture of descending Asiatic air to the western side of Japan in the winter and the hot, wet air of ascending Pacific air in the summer, and you get really unbearable weather here in Tokyo all year round.

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