Parts of Mt Fuji 'could collapse' if fault shifts

May 11, 2012
The sun rises behind Japan's Mount Fuji. Parts of Mount Fuji, a national symbol and key tourist attraction, could collapse if a newly-discovered faultline under the mountain shifts, a government-commissioned report has warned.

Parts of Japan's Mount Fuji, a national symbol and key tourist attraction, could collapse if a newly-discovered faultline under the mountain shifts, a government-commissioned report has warned.

A three-year study by seismologists discovered a previously unknown active fault underneath the mountain, which sits around 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Tokyo.

"It's possible that (parts of) the mountain could collapse with mudslides flowing to Gotemba," a city between the mountain and the Pacific, said Yasuhiro Yoshida, director for earthquake investigation at the science ministry.

A team of researchers, led by academics from the University of Tokyo, fired simulated seismic waves at the mountain, which revealed a fault that was theoretically capable of generating an earthquake of up to magnitude seven.

The team said they believed the fault moved some time in the last million years, although it was not clear when.

Yoshida said local geography showed Mount Fuji experienced major mudslides nearly 3,000 years ago, but that more studies are required to determine how the fault could affect potential , and vice versa.

The area around the mountain, an almost perfect that is much admired for its beauty, is known for having frequent earthquakes and numerous , even for quake-prone Japan.

Japan has been on heightened alert for possible quakes and other natural hazards since the 9.0 magnitude quake and the tsunami of March 2011 killed 19,000 people and sparked a at Fukushima.

Explore further: Ancient marine algae provides clues of climate change impact on today's microscopic ocean organisms

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tokyo quake fault line is re-evaluated

Jul 15, 2005

A new survey suggests the fault line beneath Tokyo is miles closer to the surface than seismologists realized, Nature.com reported Thursday.

Biggest recorded earthquake was brewing for four centuries

Oct 07, 2005

The earthquake that rocked Chile in 1960 - at magnitude 9.5, the biggest ever recorded - was preceded by almost 400 years of accumulating stress, according to studies of the region's buried soils and sand. Strain had been ...

No long-distance risks from mega-quakes: study

Mar 27, 2011

Monster earthquakes like the 9.0-magnitude event that occurred off Japan on March 11 are unlikely to trigger a large quake in distant regions of the world, according to a study published on Sunday.

Turkey, a country at seismic crossroads

Oct 24, 2011

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Van province in eastern Turkey on Sunday, causing hundreds of fatalities, underscores the country's fate to be straddling one of the world's most active seismic zones.

Recommended for you

Bridgmanite: World's most abundant mineral finally named

16 hours ago

A team of geologists in the U.S. has finally found an analyzable sample of the most abundant mineral in the world allowing them to give it a name: bridgmanite. In their paper published in the journal Science, the te ...

Volcano in south Japan erupts, disrupting flights

23 hours ago

A volcano in southern Japan is blasting out chunks of magma in the first such eruption in 22 years, causing flight cancellations and prompting warnings to stay away from its crater.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.