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Scientists in Japan have managed to detect a deep earthquake they say was caused by a storm half a world away.

Here's how a storm can trigger an earthquake


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, August 30, 2016, 1:35 PM - Scientists in Japan have managed to detect a deep earthquake they say was caused by a storm half a world away.

In fact, the storm in question was kind of storm meteorologists call a "weather bomb," a rapidly developing disturbance marked by a decrease in pressure of at least one millibar per hour for at least 24 hours.

Churning in the North Atlantic between Greenland and Iceland, the researchers say the storm's powerful waves pounded the sea bottom with enough force to trigger an effect they'd not detected before: A kind of tremor called an S-wave microseism.

The Japan Times says S-wave microseisms typically move slower than their P-wave cousins, and only move through rock. P-Wave microseisms can also be detected during tropical storms.

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Phys.org says the researchers detected the S-wave microseisms with the help of over 200 seismic stations on the western side of Honshu, Japan's largest and most populous island.

"The precise source locations may provide a new catalog for exploring Earth’s interior," the researchers wrote in their study, published this week in the journal Science.

The tremors in question are too weak to cause any damage, and are hard to detect, but Japan tends to take earthquake research very seriously. It is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, seeing many quakes powerful enough to cause massive devastation and loss of life over the centuries.

The 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which struck not far from Tokyo, had a magnitude of 7.9 and killed more than 100,000 people. More recently, the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, at Magitude 9.0 the strongest to ever strike the country, claimed some 16,000 lives and triggered a meltdown at a nuclear complex in the country's northeast.

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SOURCES: Japan Times | Science

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