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Japanese Earthquake

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794922.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:26 am Reply with quote

As part of the catalogue of recent natural disasters we now have the biggest yet although there is some hope that the loss of life will not be massive as the Japanese build to resist such events.

The 8.9 magnitude(!) quake is the strongest since records began and more than 8,000 times as powerful as Christchurch.

Mirror article

Just heard on the Beeb that a nuclear power station has had to declare an emergency after cooling systems failed. No radiation leak though thank goodness. There's some jaw-dropping footage being shown currently of hundreds of cars being washed away as a result of the accompanying tsunami.

794924.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:36 am Reply with quote

We have TV screens showing the rolling news channels in our lift lobby here, and this is one of those days where people linger and gape open-mouthed at them.

It has to be said that if an earthquake of such astonishing magnitude has to hit any populated area of the planet, then Japan is probably the best place it could have done. One thing the Japanese really know their beans about is quake-proofing, and have plenty of experience with lower-level quakes.

There's a picture in the slideshow on the Beeb site at the moment of a smashed-up bus stop in Sendai - and alongside it are people going out their daily business with shopping bags and the like.

795095.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:40 pm Reply with quote

Just heard a great thing on the news - they were talking about how Hawaii coped with the tsunami, and said that some areas were subject to a 'vertical evacuation', which is basically a poncy turn of phrase for 'everyone went upstairs'.

Janet H
795110.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:06 pm Reply with quote

Up or up nearest volcano?

795112.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:22 pm Reply with quote

Everyone's been asking me if I will be affected by the tsunami. The answer is no. Although I live close enough to the water to be concerned for a tsunami from a closer earthquake (it would have to be very big too), there is a big chunk of land that will obscure this one for me.

795114.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:24 pm Reply with quote

Japanese video updates

Prof Wind Up Merchant
795134.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:52 pm Reply with quote

Seeing the pictures of offices and supermarkets shaking reminds us that how volatile our own Earth can be. Yet millions live near plate boundaries prone to earthquakes. New Zealand and Japan are near the "Ring of Fire". Also are Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the West Coasts of North and South America.

795171.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:52 pm Reply with quote

I find the TV footage of the tsunami exciting to watch - I am evil :(

Ion Zone
795180.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:06 pm Reply with quote

Here is one possible explanation.

795192.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:49 pm Reply with quote

It was quite surreal watching the live TV footage last night of the Japanese quake & tsunami, while at the same time experiencing our own aftershocks. Almost the ultimate in 'Surroundsound"...

It also made a change being ABLE to see the live footage... something denied us with our Christchurch Earthquake because we had no power. We got very frustrated when listening to the radio and they would say "For more information on where you can get water, or what roads are open, see our website..." - HELLO... We have no power !!!

We were just in the process of thanking the Japanese Search & Rescue teams before they departed when the news reached us. Many of their team have family & friends in the worst affected places so as you can imagine, all they wanted to do was get on the plane and fly straight back to Japan. I suspect there will be several New Zealand USAR teams following them.

795193.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:54 pm Reply with quote

Can someone explain the physical process of an earthquake happening? As it feels on the ground?

It seems from several accounts today that people initially shrugged, and said: "Oh, it's just another trembler", and it was only when it had lasted, say, above 30 seconds and had become rather stronger during that time that they realised it was a big one.

I'm not sure WHY, but I've always sort of assumed the physics would be: RUPTURE - BIG SHAKE - followed by progressively smaller shaking until it stops. It seems this is NOT AT ALL what happens, but the shaking starts, gets bigger and bigger (if it does; at which point, well into the earthquake, people recognise that this is for real).

This seismogram indicates clearly why people simply shrugged at first: initially there was nothing for them to get that worked up about. What I don't quite grasp, and hope someone can explain in simple joined-up writing, is how the release of pressure when a quake hits becomes AMPLIFIED over time, rather than being an instant, catastrophic response gradually dying away.

Last edited by otyikondo on Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:54 pm; edited 1 time in total

795194.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:54 pm Reply with quote

Brilliant people, those rescuers - and how cruel fate can be.

795220.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:57 pm Reply with quote

cornixt wrote:
Everyone's been asking me if I will be affected by the tsunami. The answer is no.

I've spoken with my sister in Vancouver this evening. Within the last couple hours, the tsunami has made land on Vancouver Island - and no one really noticed. Schools in places like Port Alberni and the Queen Charlotte Islands stayed closed today, but the waves have been no higher than two feet, which is not at all unusual at this time of year.

The Pacific Northwest seems to have gotten away with it. This time.

795237.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:57 pm Reply with quote

New Zealand all safe and well on the Tsunami front too luckily. Fortunately, it hit NZ and most southern Pacific Islands at low tide, so only Maritime warnings were needed (strong currents etc. can be a problem).

795255.  Fri Mar 11, 2011 8:44 pm Reply with quote

Nuclear meltdown? Crikey!


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