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August 31, 2012

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Experts allay fears over quake damage

The Shanghai Seismological Bureau insisted yesterday that the city will not suffer much damage if a big temblor were to hit Japan's Nankai Trough on the sea following dire predictions by Japanese experts.

The Japan earthquake expert committee reported on Wednesday that the tsunami triggered by a big earthquake in the Nankai Trough will threaten and hit most of the cities on Japan's east coast, China's said, attracting many comments from netizens, with some expressing concern over whether Chinese coastal cities would fall victim to the tsunami.

The death toll could climb up to more than 320,000, about 13 times than the prediction given in 2003, the Japanese experts claimed.

The report said the tsunami waves could reach 20 meters if the trough suffered a 9.1-magnitude quake. "The business circles of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka will suffer losses," it said, adding that nuclear power plants could also be flooded.

But the experts added that "the possibility of such a big earthquake is very slim".

If proper precautions and emergency measures are taken, the number of casualties would be cut by one-fifth, said the report.

The Japanese experts issued a similar report in March but did not predict possible losses. They said based on historic records the Nankai Trough will be hit by a big earthquake, of 8.0-magnitude and above, once 100 to 150 years.

"It's common for Japanese experts to make such predictions," the Shanghai Seismological Bureau said yesterday, adding that Japan is located in one of the most active seismic and volcanic zones in the world.

Experts with the Shanghai Seismological Bureau have done research on the issue and concluded that "the possibility that Shanghai will suffer destructive damage is small" even if the Nankai Trough is hit by an earthquake of 8.0-magnitude and above.

According to records, the area suffered a 8.4-magnitude temblor in 1854, which affected China the most. The coast line near Shanghai saw 1-meter-high tsunami then but there is no record of damage, the Shanghai experts said. Some farmhouses in neighboring Zhejiang Province were submerged.

The Nankai Trough reported its last 8.0-magnitude quake in 1944 and again 8.1-magnitude in 1946. And the Japanese experts believe it has entered a new 100-year activity period.


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