Marking almost a week since the earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, engineers are still scratching their heads at the randomness of the quakes. Seismologists are also trying to debunk the fact that the earthquakes could be linked to some unknown seismic activity.

Jonathan Stewart, a professor of civil and environmental engineering in the UCLA Henery Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, said: "The occurrence of earthquakes in time is more or less a random process."

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Credit: Bangkokpost.com

Mark Benthien, director of outreach for the Southern California Earthquake Centre, agreed, saying: "There's absolutely no link. There are times when large earthquakes do trigger an earthquake somewhere else. The Japan earthquake was certainly not large enough to trigger an earthquake in Ecuador." 

Experts are now warning that Thailand could be in danger as well due to resting on "hidden fault lines". A structural engineering expert from the Asia Institute of Technology, speaking to Bangkokpost, said: "The question is when -- we won't know until it comes."

There is also renewed pressure in Japan to pressure the government to review building law for buildings less than three storeys, to ensure they are earthquake-proof. 

The insurance and reinsurance industry has unsurprisingly taken a knock after the earthquakes in Japan as well. An estimate released by AIR Worldwide projected losses of $1.7 billion to $2.9 billion. The company is the leader in catastrophe risk modelling software and consulting services. 

Dr Tao Lai, a senior principal engineer at AIR Worldwide, said: "Kyushu Island lies on the overriding plate above the Philippine subducting plate to the west of the Nankai subduction zone. The region is exposed to subduction interface, intraslab, and shallow crustal earthquakes." 



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