Plenty of Sparks on the Rim Of Fire
March 31, 2011 • 6:47AM

Since the extraordinary March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan, there has been continued seismic activity along the Asian side of the Rim of Fire, including five in the 6-7 range, in Vanuatu, Myanmar, and three in the same Honshu location as the 9.0 of March 11. Here's a short survey.

JAPAN: Numerous aftershocks, some quite powerful, were felt immediately after the quake and in the days following.

* As late as the 28th there was a 6.5 quake offshore from Mirage Prefecture, where the force of the previous tsunami was greatest. A tsunami warning was issued but then withdrawn. A 6.1 hit Tuesday and a 6.0 Wednesday.

* The Shinmoedake volcano on Japan's southern island of Kyushu, 950 miles from the epicenter of last week's magnitude 9 earthquake, spewed ash and rocks up to 2.5 miles into the air on March 13, its largest eruption in 50 years. The volcano is active and erupts regularly.

* According to officials of the Japan Meteorological Agency, there was an increase in earthquakes in the vicinity of the 13 active Japanese volcanoes after the quake, including Mt. Fuji. The surge in seismic activity has been observed in active volcanoes ranging from the Kanto region to Kyushu.

MYANMAR: A 6.8 quake was registered in Shan state of Northeast Myanmar on March 24. Severe localized damaged resulted with a death toll that may be as high as 200. The faults in Myanmar are not technically on the Rim Of Fire.

THAILAND: The Thai Seismic Bureau determined that three smaller quakes (4.0, 3.0, 3.4) experienced after the Myanmar quake, were not aftershocks, but were three unrelated quakes centered on fault lines in Thailand. The Thai government then called a meeting for next Thursday, of key agencies involved in meteorological and other scientific affairs, along with agencies having civil-defense duties and responsibility for safety and rescue operations, to work out and review long-standing emergency measures.

INDONESIA: Indonesia is the single country most at risk from increased seismic activity, given that the island chain is still being built by continuing seismic activity. Indonesia has about 500 volcanoes, nearly 130 of them active and 68 classified as dangerous. The two largest volcanoes in historic memory (in the 19th Century) were in Indonesia, and the 2004 earthquake and tsunami off Ache, Sumatra Indonesia, killed over 250,000 people around the Indian Ocean.

* Both Mount Karangetang, on Siau Island, northern Indonesia, and Mount Bromo in Probolinggo, East Java, are in eruption. Karangetang has forced 1,200 to evauate, while Bromo has seen a rise in volcanic activity in the past few days as consecutive eruptions spew thick grey plumes into the air

* An earthquake measuring 5.1 struck off North Sulawesi in eastern parts of Indonesia, March 28.

* On the same day, Germany transferred the ownership of the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System to Indonesia. The system consists of seismometers, sea-level sensors, and GPS land stations.

RUSSIA: Important seismic events are reported in far Eastern Russia near the city of Ust-Kamczatsk on the Kamchatka peninsula to the North of Japan.

* Almost simultaneously with the Japanese quake, two Russian Kamchatka volcanoes erupted. Kizimen and Sheveluch eruptions were accompanied by earthquakes. Ash plume rose 4.5 miles above the crater. According to Russian media reports, the first cloud of dust covered the city of Ust-Kamczatsk. Over five thousand people are forced to stay at home.

* Two weeks earlier than the Japanese quake, on February 21, two strong quakes were registered in the region,a 6.6 and a 6.5.

CHINA: Neither mainland China nor Taiwan has reported any activity. Mainland China is subject to serious earthquake primarily in the interior and, again, technically not associated with the Rim Of Fire, but these quakes can still be very dangerous and set off by the same solar and galactic processes.

VIETNAM: Vietnam is not known to have experienced very severe earthquakes, but the country is aware of how unprepared they are. A 5.3 earthquake on the Viet Nam-Laos border in 2001 damaged 98 percent of offices and schools, and injured two people in Dien Bien Phu, causing severe damage due to poor construction.

KOREA: The divided Korea peninsula does not have a history of serious earthquakes, but the North and the South met just this last Tuesday to discuss measures to deal with the northern volcano Mount Baekdu. The non-government representatives of the two parts of Korea came to an understanding on the need for joint research on the volcano, which could affect both Koreas if it erupts.

NEARLY THIRTY YEARS AGO:

PHILIPPINES: In June 1991, the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th Century took place at Mount Pinatubo on the island of Luzon, a mere 90 kilometers (55 miles) northwest of the capital city Manila. Up to 800 people were killed and 100,000 became homeless. The resulting decrease in the temperature worldwide over the next few years was credited to the eruption.

* A quake of 6.0 magnitude hit in Babuyan Islands region, 300 miles from Manila.