Japanese Scientists: 98 Percent Chance of Major Quake by 2042

Posted January 23rd, 2012 at 10:20 am (UTC-5)
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Japanese scientists are predicting that last year's devastating earthquake northeast of Tokyo has increased chances the capital could be hit with a huge tremor sooner than the government has forecast.

The Earthquake Research Institute at Tokyo University on Monday said that it is virtually certain — 98 percent – that the capital region will see a magnitude 7 quake in the next 30 years. It said there is a 70 percent certainty of such an event by 2016.

The official government forecast puts the chances at 70 percent over the next three decades.

The new figures emerged Monday, as earthquake and tsunami-battered Fukushima prefecture was hit by another powerful jolt. Seismologists say the magnitude 5.1 tremor on the Fukushima coast did not generate a tsunami.

Tokyo Electric Power says it caused no fresh damage to the crippled Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant where three reactors melted down after the March 11th disasters.

The university scientists based their prediction on an increased number of smaller disturbances since March 11.

In a VOA interview last September, Institute director Naoshi Hirata explained that while there are many factors controlling Japan's seismic activity, in general, the probability for a huge quake near Tokyo had increased since March 11 disaster.