Parts of Mitsukejima Island Collapse After M7.4 Earthquake

Large sections of the famous scenic island of Mitsukejima 見附島 off the coast of Ishikawa prefecture in Japan have collapsed into the sea following a devastating 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck the region in the early morning hours of January 1st, 2024.

Mitsukejima, also known as Gunkanjima (軍艦島, “Battleship Island”) because of its shape, has long been renowned for its iconic views of sea, mountains and trees.

Video footage from the earthquake shows parts of the island’s edges crumbling and sinking into the sea amidst violent shaking, while much of the island remains above water.

The footage shows massive chunks of rock breaking off the sides of Mitsukejima and plunging into the waters below. While the center of the island appears to still be intact, the quake has clearly sheared off portions of the coastline.

The powerful 7.4 magnitude quake struck at approximately 3:12 AM local time, centered just off the coast of Ishikawa. It registered as the strongest earthquake to impact Japan since the disastrous 2011 Tōhoku quake and tsunami.

While the entirety of Mitsukejima has not been swallowed by the sea, the extensive damage to the island’s edges has dramatically altered its iconic scenic views. The crumbled coastline has vanished beneath the waters, changing the island’s profile.

The partial collapse of Mitsukejima serves as a stark reminder of nature’s potential for destruction, even in places of profound scenic beauty. While much of the island remains above water, its iconic views and coastline have been significantly altered.

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