Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami

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Magnitude  7.2 Ms
Date  24 April 1771
Tsunami  Yes
Number of casualties  13,486
1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Areas affected  Ryūkyū Kingdom: Ryukyu Islands
Similar  1896 Sanriku earthquake, 1703 Genroku earthquake, 1792 Unzen earthqua, 1707 Hōei earthquake, 1858 Hietsu earthquake

The 1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami (also called 明和の大津波, the Great Tsunami of Meiwa) was caused by the Yaeyama Great Earthquake at about 8 A.M. on April 24, 1771, south-southeast of Ishigaki Island, part of the former Ryūkyū Kingdom and now forming part of present-day Okinawa, Japan. According to records, 8,439 persons were killed on Ishigaki Island and 2,548 on Miyako Island.


Earthquake analysis

According to the Japanese government publication Rika-Nenpyō (理科年表) or Chronological Scientific Tables, the epicenter was 40 km south-southeast of Ishigaki Island with a magnitude of 7.4. According to the Mamoru Nakamura Laboratory, University of the Ryukyus, the earthquake was due to the activity of the fault east of Ishigaki and it is estimated that the magnitude was 7.5. Further simulation led to the activity of faults in the Ryukyu oceanic trench and the magnitude was 8.0. Also, there is a hypothesis that claims the magnitude was 8.5. The depth was 6 kilometres (3.7 mi). This trench lies between the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate.


It is considered that the earthquake registered an intensity of 4(on the Japanese scale) in Yaeyama, and the damage by the earthquake was not as serious as the tsunami.


The dead and missing amounted to 12,000 people, and more than 2,000 houses were destroyed on Ishigaki and Miyakojima. Agriculture was severely damaged because of sea water invasion and the population decreased to about one third of what it was before the earthquake. On Ishigaki island, the wave was 40 to 80 meters high. There are many huge rocks believed to have been left by the earthquake. There was a legend that an islet disappeared, but this has never been verified.


1771 Great Yaeyama Tsunami Wikipedia

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