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A large earthquake, measured at 8.9 on the Richter scale hit earlier today off the coast of Japan near the city of Sendai, Miyage Prefecture. As a result a tsunami devasted buildings and farms in the Northern prefecture and the number of casualties is not quite known yet.
Tremors in Tokyo were also felt stopping train lines both above and underground causing many citizens to stay overnight at their workplace.
Here is a map of Yakushima Island. It is a natural World Heritage Site since 1993. It is famous for its ancient trees known as Sugi in Japanese, often called Japanese cedar trees. This species of tree is endemic to Japan and some trees are said to be thousands of years old.
It is also a habitat for deer, macaque monkeys and migratory sea turtles and was the inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s animation Princess Mononoke. There is mountainous terrain on the island with the highest point reaching 1,935 meters above sea level. It is the southern most part of Japan where snow falls in the mountains. The ocean temperature is never under 19 degrees Celsius and frequent rainfall causes humid conditions in spring and summer.
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The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world behind the Nile and the Amazon river. It is estimated to be about 6300 km or 3915 miles long. It originates from a glacier located on the eastern side of the Plateau of Tibet.
The Yangtze is heavily polluted due to untreated wastewater discharged into the river. Wildlife like the local population of dolphins has become threatened. Moreover the quality of drinking water for the population living along the river has become degraded.
The Yellow River is the second longest river in China and is approximately 5,464 kilometers or 3,398 miles in length. It has been dubbed the ‘cradle of Chinese civilization’ as it is believed that China’s civilization originated from here.
It also has been nicknamed ‘China’s pride’ as well as ‘China’s sorrow’ as the river is prone to severe floods due to its elevated river bed. The name the ‘Yellow River’ comes from the ochre-yellow color of the river in the lower course of the year. This color is caused by the amount of sediment that is suspended in the waters.
The Yellow River is very polluted mainly due to discharge from industry and household wastewater. Currently it has been estimated that one third of the river is unsuable even for industrial or agricultural use.
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Here’s a map of Japan that I created. It shows the mountainous area of the island nation and as indicated on the map the majority of the land is mountainous and therefore difficult for residential, industrial or agricultural uses.
It is estimated to be about 145,883 square miles in size with 70 to 80% being mountainous. The mountainous areas are usually covered in forest.
Difficulties in traveling across the country have been overcome by technological advances, as Japan is famous for its long railway tunnels that go under the hills and mountains.
Because of Japan’s location at the intersection of three tectonic plates, earthquakes are commonplace. In addition to this, 10% of the world’s active vocanos are found in Japan. The most famous of Japan’s volcanos is mount Fuji, located between Tokyo and Shizuoka, which is still considered active. In the cooler seasons, steam can be seen bellowing out of the top of Mount Fuji.
The Sonoran desert is one of the largest and hottest deserts in North America. It is about 120,000 square miles in size. Despite the harsh conditions the thriving city of Phoenix is located in this desert. Phoenix has a population of over 4 million and is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. The desert is actually losing ground to the urban sprawl around Phoenix.
The Sonoran desert is home to an assortment of cactus species including the famous saguaro cactus, pictured below, which is found only in the Sonoran. There is also a diverse range of animals including the bobcat, coyote, antelope and various reptile species.
On September 2nd a large earthquake hit the southern coast of the island of Java. It was measured at an intensity of 7.3 and has left thousands of homes damaged and at least 40 people dead so far.
The town worst affected by the earthquake is Tasikmalaya, shown in the map above. Tremors could be felt as far as Jakarta in the west and Bali island in the east.
In the capital Jakarta high rise buildings swayed and suffered structural damage. People evacuated buildings and gathered in open spaces as aftershocks continued.
There were also fears of a tsunami and an alert was raised but it has been retracted.