As Japan prepares to mark the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, scientists have warned that stress levels in the tectonic plates that triggered the magnitude-9 tremor are once again building to worrying levels.
On March 11, 2011, a devastating 9.0 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, claiming the lives of more than 15,000 people. It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world. In the aftermath, a state of emergency was declared following the failure of the cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in the evacuation of nearby residents. Radiation levels inside the plant were up to 1,000 times normal levels, and those outside the plant were up to eight times normal levels.