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A study of the relationship between earthquakes near New Zealand and those that occurred in Japan.

Hello! My name is Yamaken (@yama_architect) ^ ^.
YamakenBlog is a mostly hobby blog about architecture, urban planning, and real estate that provides useful trivia for business.

This article summarizes the relationship between earthquakes that occur in the east of Japan (off the Pacific Ocean) and those that occur near New Zealand.
It will be updated whenever a major earthquake occurs.

The Relationship between Vanuatu and Japan

Recently, I read on Twitter in Japan that there is a connection between earthquakes near New Zealand and earthquakes in Japan.
There was a tweet that said, “When there is a big earthquake near New Zealand, there will be a big earthquake in Japan too!

In fact, on February 22, 2011, a few weeks before the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, New Zealand was hit by a M6.3 earthquake (Canterbury Earthquake) that killed 185 people, including 28 Japanese.

Most recently, on February 10, 2021, a M7.7 earthquake occurred in northern New Zealand (south-east of the Loyalty Islands) (where a tsunami of up to 64 cm was observed), and three days later, a M7.3 earthquake occurred off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, with a maximum seismic intensity of 6.0 on the Richter scale in Miyagi Prefecture.

So I got scared and looked it up. Then I found out that in the Japanese Twitter world, it is called ”Vanuatu’s Law”. It seems that it has been reported in newspapers in the past, but I didn’t know because I don’t read Japanese newspapers.

This is a list of major earthquakes that have occurred between 2019 and 2021 (the date of this article).
Near New Zealand (for reference, I’ve also included Papua New Guinea, which is roughly halfway between Japan and New Zealand and is connected by the Pacific Plate)

Relationship with earthquakes 2019 to present

Scale of the earthquakeDateEpicentre (of an earthquake)Depth (mile)
M6.8March 9, 2018Papua New Guinea near New Guinea, New Ireland19
M5.1March 23, 2018Off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture31
M6.9March 30, 2018 at 6:25Papua New Guinea near New Guinea, New Britain30
M5.1March 30, 2018 at 8:17Northern Ibaraki37
M7.1August 29, 2018.South Pacific Loyalty Islands South East16
September 5, 2018.
September 6, 2018.
Off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture
Hokkaido (northernmost of the four main islands of Japan)
M6.9September 10, 2018 at 13:10South of Kermadec Islands near New Zealand72
M4.8September 10, 2018 at 23:58Off the southeast coast of Chiba Prefecture19
M7.0October 11, 2018.Papua New Guinea near New Guinea, New Britain25
M5.3October 12, 2018Northeastern Chiba31
M7.5December 5, 2018South Pacific Loyalty Islands South East13
M5.1December 8, 2018Off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture25
M7.1May 7, 2019Papua New Guinea near New Guinea, Eastern New Guinea83
M6.3May 10, 2019Hyuga Sea19
M7.6May 14, 2019Papua New Guinea near New Guinea, New Britain22
M5.1May 25, 2019Southern Chiba25
M7.3June 16, 2019Kermadec Islands near New Zealand25
M5.2June 17, 2019Northern Ibaraki50
M7.4June 18, 2020South of Kermadec Islands near New Zealand20
M6.1June 25, 2020Off the east coast of Chiba Prefecture25
M7.7February 10, 2021South Pacific Loyalty Islands South East6
M7.3February 13, 2021Off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture37
M6.7February 16, 2021Vanuatu Islands9
February 17, 2021
February 19, 2021
Off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture31
March 4, 2021
March 5, 2021
March 5, 2021
Northeast New Zealand
Kermadec Islands, South Pacific
Kermadec Islands, South Pacific
March 17, 2021
March 20, 2021
Off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture
Off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture
M6.6April 1, 2021Kermadec Islands65
May 1, 2021
May 12, 2021
Off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture
Off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture
M6.8May 21, 2021Fiji region6
M5.0〜5.8May 29, 2021Off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture20〜40
M6.7June 20,2021Kermadec Islands, New Zealand32
M6.0August 4, 2021Off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture25
M5.6August 4, 2021Off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture19
M5.8August 4, 2021Off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture19
M7.1August 18, 2021Vanuatu Islands52
M5.2August 22, 2021Off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture37
M7.2October 6, 2021.Vanuatu Islands311
M5.9October 6, 2021.Off the coast of Iwate Prefecture37
M5.9October 7, 2021.Northwestern Chiba50


Conclusion and supplementary information

There seems to be a correlation, doesn’t it?
However, in fact, in addition to the earthquakes mentioned above, small to medium-sized earthquakes occur every day on the Pacific Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate.

The above table is just a tally of magnitudes 6 and above that have occurred near New Zealand.

However, it is an undeniable fact that when a relatively large earthquake occurs in the vicinity of New Zealand, a large trench-type earthquake also occurs in Japan a few days to a few weeks later.
It may be that we just don’t have the evidence to say for sure that there is a correlation.

So, that’s it for the article.

The website of the Japan Meteorological Agency shows that earthquakes are always occurring in the seas around Japan.
It is advisable to be vigilant against earthquakes on a daily basis.

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