# Japan’s Next Earthquake

If you’ve been reading John’s blog, you know that he is forecasting a large earthquake near Japan “sometime soon”.

Have you heard of the term ‘card counting’?  Strategists employ the technique to predict the outcome of the casino game “21”. Well, John is basically ‘quake counting’.

All around the world, earthquake statistics follow a fairly universal pattern.

(A) If in a given region over a given period of time you have experienced a certain number of magnitude 5 quakes,  then you’d expect one of magnitude 6.

(B) If in a given region over a given period of time you have experienced a certain number of magnitude 6 quakes,  then you’d expect one of magnitude 7.

(C) If in a given region over a given period of time you have experienced a certain number of magnitude 7 quakes,  then you’d expect one of magnitude 8.

For Japan, John finds that (A) and (B) are holding true, but (C) has yet to be fulfilled.

So it could be, but making “sometime soon” actionable remains a leap.

“That depends on what your definition of is, is.” -- as former President Bill Clinton would say.

Regardless of what is, is, let’s up the ante and run a simulation of Japan’s Next Earthquake.

I site the event under the ocean at the Nankai Subduction Zone in the southern part of the country. For this purpose I skip right over magnitude 8 to magnitude 9. The fault strikes northeast for 570 km and dips northwest at 20 degrees for 150 km. The mean displacement across the fault is 25 meters but the distribution concentrates to the shallow end as did 2011 Tohoku quake.

The simulation predicts a 10 meter high tsunami more or less everywhere along the coast that has an unobstructed view of the sea. What population or critical facilities lie along that section of Japan, I don’t know. Hopefully, the proper people do know however, and they are considering the ramifications, even if lacking an exact definition of ‘sometime soon’.

You might read Yomiuri Shimbun’s thoughts on this very scenario

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120830004931.htm

Card counters don’t triumph every hand, but if they stay with the game long enough they always come out winners.  I can’t say if the same applies to quake counters, but more power to them.

Steven N. Ward   Santa Cruz