The 8.8 ‘Japan Earthquake’ Moved Japan Eight Feet And Shook the Earth

by on March 12, 2011

in bruce's thoughts

2011 Japan EarthquakeWhen an earthquake happens, they’re obviously a very local event but also a global event.  In this case, it’s being reported that the 8.8 Japan earthquake ended up moving the main island of Japan by eight (8) feet.  The event also shifted the Earth’s axis by what they’re reporting to be four (4) inches.  That’s huge folks.

Obviously this was one of the biggest earthquakes in recorded history and it let loose a huge tsunami that spread across the ocean.  At places, the wave height varied from 20+ foot high wave to 2 and 6 feet high here on the California coast when it brushed in.

Tsunami waves are fascinating because they can travel the expanse of the ocean because the energy of a wave never encounters any friction to slow it down.  Plus, wave height is a function of the depth of the water, once it gets close to any coast, called run-up.

The images and videos coming out of Japan are a horrifying collection that one can’t even imagine.  I lived through the Northridge quake and several other seismic events in So. Cal.  I remember watching one end of my apartment bouncing like a ball during the Northridge quake.  The landers quake had me dancing with a bookcase as it swayed in my direction as I was trying to grab my clothes to get dressed.  They’re never any fun and only deliver huge feelings of uncertainty when the ground you walk on lashes out at you and your home.  You can’t stop them, you can only prepare for if you survive them.

Yes, I sleep with my clothes laid out next to me.  When the Northridge quake initial shaking stopped, I was fully dressed and ready for whatever else was going to come our way!

The curious thing I noticed the first day of this Japanese quake was that despite this 8.8 quake hitting and making the news, two days before they had a 7.2 quake in the same spot, but I don’t remember that one making any media.

Obviously this is yet one in a chain of tectonic events that has done damage, considering there was a 6.3-mag earthquake that hit Christchurch in Australia.

As I’m writing this, CNN is reporting that there’s an evacuation of a 12-mile range of residents around one of the Japanese Nuclear Power plants.

If you want to help via charities, don’t just blindly give.  If there is a charity that appeals to you, you can check them out at Charity Navigator to make sure it’s a valid organization.  Or just donate to established organizations like the American Red Cross.

Google has also pup back up their Person-Finder if you need to find someone.

[CNN, Taipei Times, Chicago Tribune]

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