Earlier this month, hundreds of villagers were forced to seek shelter on their remote Pacific Island home when they were hit with a major earthquake. The island, which is part of the Japanese chain, took the full brunt of a 7.4 quake. The enormous quake also set off the latest in a string of tsunami alert. The quake, which occurred in the early morning hours, forced the citizens of Ogasawara Island to take heed of potentially tsunami strength waves. Five hours later, the warned was downgraded. Luckily no one was reported injured and damage was minimal.
The island of Chichi-shima witnessed a slightly different event. It was here that 120 citizens were evacuated and temporarily brought to higher ground. Many local residents stated that the quake itself was the biggest in their life. Still, the residents consider themselves lucky. Buildings and facilities remained intact, with not a single crack reported.
Like many quakes in the region, the aftershocks and chance of tsunami were the greatest concern to residents. Aftershocks, some as high as 5.6 were reported for several hours after the initial quake. Tsunami strength waves were reported as well.
The Ogasawara Island chain is comprised of 30 or more tropical and subtropical islets. It is located approximately 240 kilometers from Iwo Jima. The islands, which were for a time controlled by the United States after World War II, are part of Japan. It unique geography and topography has created a diverse subculture. The area is the “Galapagos of the Orient” The area may have benefited from the enhanced early warning system that is currently in place.
The area is part of a larger area prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. As recently as 1995, 6400 people were killed in Kobe after a 7.2 quake hit the city. It is because of this quake that the advanced system was developed.