Great Japan quake generates 8-foot tsunami in California

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:00 PM GMT em 11 de Março de 2011

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A great earthquake rocked the coast of Japan at 5:46 GMT on March 11, generating a dangerous tsunami that raced across the Pacific. The mighty earthquake was rated 8.9 on the Richter scale, making it the 7th most powerful tremor in world history. The world's 8th largest earthquake, a magnitude 8.8 event, hit Chile on February 27, 2010; never before have two top-ten earthquakes hit so close together in time. Today's quake was the strongest in Japanese history, and will likely be the most expensive natural disaster in world history, surpassing the $133+ billion dollar price tag from Hurricane Katrina.


Figure 1. Model-computed energy from the March 11, 2011 tsunami as visualized by the NOAA Visualization Lab.

In the U.S., the highest tsunami waves from the earthquake hit northern California and southern Oregon, with a wave height of 8.1 feet observed at Crescent City, CA, 8.6 feet at Port San Luis, CA, 8.7 feet at Arena Cove, CA, and 6.1 feet at Port Orford, OR. The tsunami swept four photographers out to sea in the Crescent City harbor, injuring three of them and leaving one missing. Extensive damage was done to the harbor and 35 boats. Up to $2 million in damage also occurred in the Santa Cruz harbor south of San Francisco.


Figure 2. Tide gauge at Crescent City, CA during the March 11, 2011 tsunami. The green line shows the height of the tsunami wave; the red line shows the observed water level. The highest tsunami wave came at at 17 UTC (9am PST), an hour and 10 minutes after the initial wave, and was 7 feet high. Image credit: NOAA.

Crescent City was hit by a devastating tsunami after the March 28, 1964 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Alaska, which killed ten people in the city and destroyed much of the business district. The city is fortunate today that the tsunami hit at low tide, or else water levels would have been five feet higher in the city during the wave. The tide gauge at Crescent City, CA (Figure 2) shows that at least 18 separate tsunami waves have hit the harbor as of 2:45pm PST. The first wave came at about 15:50 UTC (7:50am PST), was about 2.5 feet high, and was not preceded by the ocean falling and water being sucked out to sea. After this initial wave, the ocean level dropped rapidly by 8 feet, and then a series of large waves began rushing in and out, with up to a 13 foot difference between low water and high water. The rapid speed of the in-rushing and outflowing waves were what did the damage to the harbor and its boats. The largest wave came at 17 UTC (9am PST), an hour and 10 minutes after the initial wave, and was 8.1 feet high. Fortunately, this wave came near the time of low tide, and the wave was only 2 feet above last night's high tide mark. Tidal range between low and high tide is about 5 feet at Crescent City. The tide is now rising, and new tsunami waves with height of 3 - 4 feet are still rushing in and out, with the one just before 21 UTC (1pm PST) reaching a height about 2 feet above high tide.


Figure 3. Propagation of the March 11, 2011 Honshu tsunami was computed with the NOAA forecast method using the MOST model with the tsunami source inferred from DART® data. From the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research, located at NOAA PMEL in Seattle, WA.

Portlight.org is mobilizing to provide financial assistance to people with disabilities affected by the disaster, and there will undoubtedly be a huge relief effort by numerous charities in the wake of the earthquake. Your financial contributions and prayers for those affected will be valuable.

Jeff Masters

Waves (Feather3)
During our tsunami warning that had been downgraded to an advisory, this afternoon. It was getting closer to high tide, but it was strange, watching the surges: one minute, the beach was bare, and within minutes, a surge would build up as wave after wave, low, but surging, would inundate the beaches....more shots to come.
Waves

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A lot ot incongruences - Hope they give an official announcement with the truth


* Authorities have also evacuated people from a 12-mile (20-kilometer) radius around the reactor.

* Safety officials described the release of radioactive materials as small, they also told the International Atomic Energy Agency that they were making preparations to distribute iodine, which helps protect the thyroid gland from radiation exposure, to people living near two nuclear plants that suffered damage in the quake. Japanese news media said three workers at the Daiichi plant had suffered exposure.

* "They are working furiously to find a solution to cool the core, and this afternoon in Europe we heard that they have begun to inject sea water into the core," said Mark Hibbs, a senior associate at the Nuclear Policy Program for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "That is an indication of how serious the problem is and how the Japanese had to resort to unusual and improvised solutions to cool the reactor core."

* Officials have said that radiation levels were elevated before the blast: At one point, the plant was releasing each hour the amount of radiation a person normally absorbs from the environment each year.

The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna said it had asked Japanese authorities for more information about the problem at the plant in Onagaway, in Fukushima prefecture. In a report on its website, the U.N. nuclear agency said it had been informed by the Japanese industry overseers that no radiation release had been detected.

"Japanese authorities have also reported a fire at the Onagawa nuclear power plant, which has been extinguished," IAEA added.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting AstroHurricane001:
I'm finding it ironic that the Japan tsunami energy pointed across the Pacific to a location close to the Chile earthquake last year.

Perhaps it was payback for the 1960 Chilean 9.5 that sent a tsunami into Japan?

Kidding. But it is amazing that so much energy can travel so many thousands of miles and still be able to cause death and destruction.
Member Since: Novembro 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13456
Quoting alfabob:
Cesium is a by-product of nuclear fission, I wouldn't be surprised if the US has some radioactive contaminants headed it's way. Someone posted a video yesterday where a reporter was claiming that the winds were blowing west over Japan; but then I pulled up a map and realized it was complete BS (they were blowing east). I'm sure that important information is being kept from the public as usual in a situation like this.

I still don't understand how proper shutoff mechanisms were not put in place first off. I mean with the amount of energy being produced, there should have been multiple physical mechanisms to pull the rods out.. o well, just some more toxic crap we get to breath in and drink.


The reactor design they used in that plant was outdated. It even lacks the secondary containment dome that three mile island had (which prevented leakage), and three mile islands design was even 10 years old at that point.

Another flaw with this particular design is that it requires an active cooling system (no modern reactors use this). An active cooling system needs power to run. When the power went out from the quake, the backup generators came on line. Then the tsunami hit, which took out the generators, causing the backup batteries to come on line (which didn't last long). During this time, they could only partially scram the system.

Japan has had issues with their plants before, but I didn't realize that reactors of this type were still used, especially in a seismically active zone. I would have at least expected a secondary dome like three mile island had. Modern passive cooling reactors, or better yet molten salt reactors, would have prevented things from getting this bad.

Even if meltdown occurs, as long as the containment vessel remains intact the damage should be fairly limited. Unless we find out that they're still using graphite control rods or something equally stupid.
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I read several articles in the popular press yesterday that--while definitely not linking the Sendai quake and tsunami or any other similar event with global warming--discussed various peer-reviewed papers that stated there was an increasing likelihood of disappearing ice mass and rising sea levels being instrumental in modulating or triggering a large range of crustal phenomena, including volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, debris flows, and so on. They also noted that, as sea levels rise, it's only logical that low-lying coastal areas will be increasingly susceptible to inundation from tsunamis, storm surges, and even normal wind wave activity. I didn't bother posting about them here because I predicted a) they'd be a distraction from the much larger picture, and b) there'd be an outcry by the, er, "unconvinced", with the normal players piling on before actually reading any of the articles to which I'd linked. As it turns out, my prediction was correct. ;-)

Having said that: no, I don't believe yesterday's disaster can be tied at all to global warming. But, yes, I do believe that the effects of redistributing billions of tons of of ice and water can't simply be dismissed...and I believe that as sea levels rise over the next century, tsunamis and storm surges will likely be even more devastating than they already are.
Member Since: Novembro 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13456
You gotta be kidding me, they're using sea water now, I quoted yesterday if they would do that as a last ditch effort and here we are...
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Quoting Grothar:


We're probably the only two who even remember them. I seem to recall a few years back then, when we didn't need anything at all. LOL


My problem is now I don't have enough left to put any on. :))
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Quoting swampliliy:



Ummm- Brylcreem vs Vitalis? :))


We're probably the only two who even remember them. I seem to recall a few years back then, when we didn't need anything at all. LOL
Member Since: Julho 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25335
Quoting Grothar:


Then what will we argue about?



Ummm- Brylcreem vs Vitalis? :))
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Why do folks resist consulting reputable sources for their information? BBC is doing a bang up job of covering this event. BBC live


Then what will we argue about?
Member Since: Julho 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25335
12 March 2011 Last updated at 08:44 ET

Huge blast at Japan nuclear power plant


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Richard Black By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News
Member Since: Setembro 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
I'm finding it ironic that the Japan tsunami energy pointed across the Pacific to a location close to the Chile earthquake last year.
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Complete Update






Member Since: Outubro 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26511
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


The last time there were names retired there was about a week's difference between the time of the meeting April 20-24, 2009 and the announcement of the names May 1, 2009.
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Why do folks resist consulting reputable sources for their information? BBC is doing a bang up job of covering this event. BBC live
Member Since: Setembro 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting washingtonian115:
Sooooo I take it no hurricane names have been retired this year?.I can't seem to find it anywhere on the internet.I felt as though Igor,and Tomas deserved to be retired the most.


The last time there were names retired there was about a week's difference between the time of the meeting April 20-24, 2009 and the announcement of the names May 1, 2009.
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Sooooo I take it no hurricane names have been retired this year?.I can't seem to find it anywhere on the internet.I felt as though Igor,and Tomas deserved to be retired the most.
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564. JeffMasters (Admin)
A few links and news items on the earthquakes/change in crustal loading issue I've collected over the years:

http://news.discovery.com/earth/volcanoes-warming -ice-age.html

http://news.discovery.com/earth/are-volcanic-erup tions-increasing.html#mkcpgn=rssnws1

Climate Forcing of Geological and Geomorphological Hazards:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327273.80 0-climate-change-may-trigger-earthquakes-and-volca noes.html

http://feww.wordpress.com/2009/01/01/climate-chan ge-earthquakes-volcanic-eruption/

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4176902/Climate-ch ange-linked-to-quakes:

Victoria University professor Martha Savage, a seismology expert, said she had seen one published paper on the topic. Global warming might cause a small increase in earthquakes, she said.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research principal climate scientist James Renwick said the theory was reasonable because major ice sheets put huge weight on the Earth's crust. The processes of ice sheet melting and the geological response happened slowly.

"I wouldn't see it as terrifically relevant day-by-day or year-by-year to what's happening here right now."

Given the tenuous nature of the research on this subject, I don't think its wise to say much about the topic after a big quake, considering the highly charged political atmosphere surrounding climate change. I don't plan to talk about the issue in the near future on my blog.

Jeff Masters
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Yup. It's all part of the great Ring of Fire. Some locations are more prone to events with greater frequency, others with events of greater magnitude, or both.


1700 Cascadia earthquake
Member Since: Setembro 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Oh lord now their's a theory that due to Global warming more earthquakes might happen?.This Global Warming bull crap is getting to out of hands in the human minds.So let me guess that tsunami was due to Global Warming?.I'll remember that the next time a huge disaster happens it'll be becuase of Global Warming.Ohhhhh okay I got it.So now every natraul disaster that happens it will be becuase of Global Warming.Okay got it.Wrote it down in my notebook and everything.Rollls eyes...
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Quoting atmoaggie:
What is sheen?
It's that nasty slime you get on top of the water after a disaster.
Member Since: Setembro 9, 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Or maybe Arkansas fracking caused the Japan earthquake.

Those fracking Arkansans...
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Quoting alfabob:
Obviously climate change has the possibility to influence earthquakes as the removal of large amounts of polar ice may shift the tension in the Earth's crust. Considering that we are losing about 1,000 cubic kilometers a year globally, which is roughly 9.167*10^11 kg; there is the possibility. Although this is not a lot in comparison with something like mount Everest, it may be enough to intensify or weaken earthquakes. Is there scientific proof of this? probably not, but it would be scientifically ignorant to ignore the possibilities.


Insignificant compared to the mass of the crustal plates and the forces driving them.

Ice melt from land surfaces can result in de-glaciation quakes, where depressed land rises back up, but the are not related to fault quakes.

Increased rainfall and sea levels in certain areas might affect faults by adding additional lubrication, but that is still hypothetical.

But even something the size of Everest pales in comparison to the crustal plates.
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USGS Pager Data

Link

Link
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Exactly. You can conceivably get 2 category 5 hurricanes in virtually the same location in as many years, but it doesn't work that way with plate tectonics.

Think of a rubber band. You stretch it so much and it breaks. With pressure concerning subduction zones, pressure has to be built over a substantial period of time to release that same amount of force again.

Chile comes to mind, February 27, 2010 .... May 22, 1960 ... November 11, 1922 ... August 13, 1868 almost exactly 50 years apart. Same thrust fault. Same result.
Member Since: Setembro 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting twincomanche:


It comes back to me now,,,,it was Brylcreem.


Trust me, this will happen to you more as the years go by.
Member Since: Julho 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25335
Quoting Grothar:


A little dab'll do ya!


Ohhh yeah......I remember....can still smell that fresh scent (greasy ).....lol.
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

Gotta remember. News (if you even want to call it that--it's more like entertainment) reports what people want to hear. There are so many folks fascinated with that kind of stuff. It's the way we are. Well, the way some people are. Not me. LOL


Yeah, there's so much to say here, but I want say it to avoid being critical about ignorant masses again lol
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Quoting Jedkins01:


I really don't care either, but this guy is losing his mind and it is hilarious lol, I don't have a clue about him other than that, or why he is a celebrity in the first place.


Celebrity following only leads to brain decay, so I don't participate, plus its just dang boring, who gives a crap? But this guy is losing his mind so it is pretty funny.
No, not funny. Repulsed too far in the other direction that we, as a society, care. And are have to get regular updates as to whom married whom, whom is in rehab, whom is in legal trouble, and whom is doing something self-destructive.

I'd rather know all of that about my neighbors.
Member Since: Agosto 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting RecordSeason:


I watch all of the news channels. I switch between them on commercials.

Unfortunately, they often synchronize their commercials. In spite of the fact they hate one another, they cooperate to ensure the commercial advertisements are seen.
Quoting RecordSeason:


I watch all of the news channels. I switch between them on commercials.

Unfortunately, they often synchronize their commercials. In spite of the fact they hate one another, they cooperate to ensure the commercial advertisements are seen.


I do the same,change according to the commentator. Some I trust more than others. Cavuto is not an alarmist, and I watch him....just can't take those with that hyper agitating tone...give me a calm one at least...:/
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Quoting Xyrus2000:


That must be a hidden comment as I didn't see it. I would have corrected that statement.
Nope, in the article being discussed. Maybe you were looking at another?

http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/11/some-respond-to -japan-earthquake-by-pointing-to-global-warming/
Member Since: Agosto 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting atmoaggie:
Oh. He's doing what?

I never watch cable news. Nor E. And couldn't care less about what anyone in Hollywood is doing. (And, no, not just a figure of speech, I really couldn't care any less than I do).


I really don't care either, but this guy is losing his mind and it is hilarious lol, I don't have a clue about him other than that, or why he is a celebrity in the first place.


Celebrity following only leads to brain decay, so I don't participate, plus its just dang boring, who gives a crap? But this guy is losing his mind so it is pretty funny.
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Quoting alfabob:
Obviously climate change has the possibility to influence earthquakes as the removal of large amounts of polar ice may shift the tension in the Earth's crust. Considering that we are losing about 1,000+ cubic kilometers a year globally, which is roughly 9.167*10^11 kg; there is the possibility. Although this is not a lot in comparison with something like mount Everest, it may be enough to intensify or weaken earthquakes. Is there scientific proof of this? probably not, but it would be ignorant to ignore the possibilities.
What percent of ice mass is this?

Or maybe Arkansas fracking caused the Japan earthquake. Gotta consider all of the possibilities, right?
Member Since: Agosto 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting twincomanche:


I thought it was Brill Creme. Or was it Cream?


A little dab'll do ya!
Member Since: Julho 17, 2009 Posts: 69 Comments: 25335
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
it won't be overdue much longer

I just hope the smaller quakes off the coast or Oregon is the slow release of the energy and not a prelude to a much bigger quake like we have seen off the coast of Japan.
Member Since: Setembro 30, 2007 Posts: 9 Comments: 15932
Quoting atmoaggie:
A post from an actual person: "I’m worried that Japan earthquake, on top of other recent natural ‘disasters’, is a sign we’ve passed point of no return for climate change."

An earthquake is a sign that we've passed some point of no return for climate change?

No twisting needed. Sad, confused person.


That must be a hidden comment as I didn't see it. I would have corrected that statement.
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Can we please stop talking about the impending Big One in Calif.... I have trouble enough sleeping as it is.....
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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