Tokyo, Japan October 1993 (NASA). The Tokyo-Yokohama-Kawasaki urban area is the
world’s largest metropolis. The docking facilities around the periphery of Tokyo
Bay reflect the country’s emphasis on international trade. Although volcanism,
earthquakes, and plate tectonics modify the physiography of Japan, no volcanoes
are visible in this photograph. The Tokyo region has a dynamic environmental
history because of its proximity to the intersection of three major, active
tectonic plates (Eurasian, Pacific, and Philippine) that collide southwest of
Tokyo Bay. Much of the industrial infrastructure around Tokyo Bay has been built
on landfill materials, from which artificial islands are sometimes created.
Because landfill materials can liquefy during earthquakes, there is concern that
a major earthquake could generate tremendous destruction in this densely
populated area. In spite of strict building regulations that have been imposed
during recent decades, a major earthquake could have a calamitous impact on this
area and all of Japan.
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