Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Friday, 11 March 2011

Surrey school detects Japanese earthquake

The School Reporters at Tomlinscote School with the seismometer
The seismometer in the school shows the size of the huge earthquake in Japan

By School Reporters
Tomlinscote School, Surrey

The vibrations from the Japanese earthquake and many aftershocks were large enough to be detected by the equipment at Tomlinscote School in Frimley, Surrey.

Tomlinscote School is lucky enough to own a seismometer which detects earthquakes from all over the world.

Interestingly, we were able to use our seismometer to pin down the exact time that the earthquake hit and can also estimate the magnitude of the earthquake.

The earthquake was caused by pressure building up between the Eurasian plate boundary and the Pacific plate boundary. The vibration measured 8.9 in magnitude and was felt over the whole of Japan.

Following the earthquake a tsunami warning went out over the whole northern and eastern coast of Japan, and within 15 minutes of the quake the first waves began to hit the coast, flooding the flat agricultural land and washing cars, boats and some weak buildings away.

A fire burns at an oil refinery after the enormous earthquake
Fires have broken out at oil refineries in Japan

At the time of writing, 44 people are thought to be dead with many more missing and injured.

Luckily Japan has spent many years preparing for an earthquake on this scale, so many of the effects have been seriously reduced due to the thorough planning from the emergency services.

Furthermore, the earthquake has caused fires on offshore oil rigs, mud and landslides in the mountainous regions of Japan, and a nuclear power station has been declared to be in a state of emergency because of the failure of the cooling system.

Many people are worried as the full effects of the earthquake are not known and a lot of people are worried about their families that they have not been able to contact.

A tsunami warning has been issued to many countries bordering the Pacific Ocean as waves spread out over the ocean and aftershock are expected to last for many weeks or even months.

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