Major coastal changes after M7.6 earthquake in Japan left 15 ports unusable, 58 damaged

Major coastal changes on Noto Peninsula after M7.6 earthquake left 15 ports unusable, Japan

The M7.6 earthquake that struck Japan’s Noto Peninsula on January 1, 2024, has caused significant changes in the coastal landscape, leaving at least 15 ports unusable. Out of about 70 ports in Ishikawa Prefecture, 58 reported various degrees of damage.

According to state media reports on January 17, at least 15 ports have become unusable due to significant alterations in the coastal relief, which led to the coastline’s extension. The most dramatically transformed area is Wajima City, where the land elevation on the Noto Peninsula has increased by over 200 m (655 feet) from the sea, causing many ships to become stranded.

Local fishermen, heavily reliant on these ports for their livelihood, are facing dire circumstances as their vessels remain docked.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported on the profound impact the disaster has had on the fishing community. In the port of Kuroshima, Wajima, the rise in land has exposed a large portion of the ocean floor, leading to the death of marine wildlife and hindering fishing activities.

One of the affected residents, 80-year-old Naganori Takashima, shared his plight with NHK. His home was damaged by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, and his ability to fish, which he did around 100 days a year, has been severely compromised. Takashima, along with approximately 16 000 others who remain displaced, expressed despair over the situation, fearing a loss of vitality in the area.

Ishikawa Prefecture, the epicenter of the disaster, reported various damages across 58 ports out of about 70. The quake has caused at least 232 fatalities, left 21 missing, and over 1 000 injured. The destruction extends to over 20 000 homes, with thousands more damaged.

Continuing power outages affect about 7 800 residences, and water supply disruptions impact over 50 000 households. Authorities have warned that these supply cuts could persist for up to two months in some areas.

The government’s Earthquake Investigation Committee is closely analyzing the tremor. Their findings suggest that one of the involved faults has barely moved, raising concerns about the possibility of similar or larger earthquakes occurring in the future.


1 Japan earthquake has rendered at least 15 ports unusable – EFE – January 17, 2024

2 Local fishermen, students set adrift by quake damage – NHK – January 17, 2024


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