Image: The rift that appeared in the ground is shown in a rice paddy. The right side is elevated and cedar trees in the background are leaning to one side.
Story: A rift extending for about 15 kilometers has appeared on the surface of the ground in five districts following the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Japan's Tohoku region on June 14, it has emerged. In the Mochikorogashi district of Koromogawa-ku in Oshu, Iwate Prefecture, a zigzag fault has appeared in the surface through two rice paddies, with the land on the west side about 45 centimeters higher. Across four of the five points, a rift extending for about 10 kilometers has appeared along an old fault on the border between Iwate and Miyagi prefectures. "There's a possibility that this fault caused the earthquake, but with an earthquake of this size it wouldn't be unusual for a step of about 2 meters to appear on the surface. There is also a possibility that another fault caused the earthquake and the effects of that caused this rift to appear on the surface."
The temperature of a hot spring near the epicenter of the Iwate and Miyagi earthquake sharply changed before the temblor struck. A similar phenomenon was observed with other earthquakes, including one that struck Hokkaido in 1993. Seismologists are paying close attention to the phenomenon as it could help predict earthquakes. The temperature of the hot spring water at the Kamikura Hot Spring Inn in Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture, which had been 42 degrees Celsius, began to rise in mid-May - about a month before the quake, its owner said. It reached 47 degrees one week before the temblor. The Kamikura inn is situated about five kilometers away from the epicenter of the earthquake that struck on Saturday last week. Furthermore, the temperature of hot spring water at an inn in the Akinomiya area of Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture, declined from 70 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees in mid-May. The hot spring area is located about 30 kilometers from the epicenter. The water temperature at five hot spa areas in southern Wakayama Prefecture declined 0.1 to 0.3 degrees Celsius about a month before a quake hit the area in 2004. Furthermore, the temperature of hot spring water on Okushiri Island, Hokkaido, rose 10 degrees about a month before a powerful quake jolted Hokkaido in 1993. Some scientists believe that underground rocks hit each other before a powerful earthquake, creating huge pressure. The pressure causes the level of subterranean water to rise, which changes the temperature of hot spring water.