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article imageOp-Ed: Asteroid nears as geophysicists predict more earthquakes

By Eliot Elwar     Dec 11, 2012 in World
Geophysicists believe that major earthquakes are coming. A huge asteroid nears Earth tonight, potentially triggering more earthquakes and tsunamis. More geophysical activities could be headed for Japan and America's west coast region.
Stanford Geophysicists believe that major earthquakes are coming. Stanford geophysicists were well represented at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union last week in San Francisco. Included among the many presentations were several studies that relate to predicting and preparing for major earthquakes in the Himalaya Mountains and the Pacific Northwest, according to San Mateo Patch.
Huge asteroid nears earth tonight. The near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis, which is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide, will zoom within 4.3 million miles (7 million kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach early Wednesday morning on 12 December 2012, according to space.com. Could this asteroid trigger more earthquakes and tsunamis?
A 7.1 magnitude earthquake strikes region of Banda Sea. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake in the Banda Sea off Indonesia has been felt more than 600 kilometers away in Darwin. Geoscience Australia says there could be more aftershocks from the quake that shook the Top End of the Northern Territory overnight, according to Radio Australia.
On 7 December 2012, a strong earthquake centered off northeastern Japan shook buildings as far away as Tokyo and triggered a one-meter tsunami in an area devastated by last year's Fukushima disaster, but there were no reports of deaths or serious damage. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Thousands of coastal residents were ordered to evacuate to higher ground, but the tsunami warning was lifted two hours after the tremor struck. The March 2011 9.0 magnitude earthquake and following tsunami killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years when the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed, leaking radiation into the sea and air, according to Yahoo news. A few seismologists believe that major aftershocks are coming for Japan.
Analysis
The asteroid nearing earth could trigger more earthquakes due to either an impact or its gravitational influence on Earth's tectonic plates. Earthquakes or seismic tremors occur at a rate of several hundred per day around the world. Seismographs detect many small earthquakes every year worldwide. The very large earthquakes, such as the March 2011 Japan earthquake, which measured a 9.0 magnitude on the Richter scale and caused millions of dollars in damages, occur worldwide every few years. Moderate earthquakes, such as the 7 December 2012 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Japan, occur more frequently every year. A few seismologists believe that major aftershocks are coming for Japan and America’s west coast region where many people could be killed due to geophysical actions and tsunamis (a large destructive ocean wave caused by an underwater earthquake or another movement of the Earth's surface).
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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