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Hi Everybody!!
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Hi Everybody!!
My daughter sent me these photos today from the Spring Break in California. I was 23 when I first saw this great Pacific Ocean and my daughter was then 6 months old when she touched it. The water is much colder than the Texas Gulf. Now my grandkids are seeing California and obviously having a great time. Though it is happy Spring Break for some today, it is also the 3rd anniversary of an event that changed the world forever:  Tohoku Earthquake, March 11, 2011.  Your info tonight is from Wikipedia with the facts of this earthquake and damage. A Prayer for the World for Peace and the closing of all Nuclear Facilities, please.


2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
An aerial view of tsunami damage in Tōhoku
An aerial view of damage in the Sendai region with black smoke coming from the Nippon OilSendai oil refinery

Peak tsunami wave height summits, color-coded with red representing most severe
Date11 March 2011
Origin time14:46:23 JST (UTC+09:00)
Duration6 minutes[1]
Magnitude9.0 (Mw)[2][3]
Depth30 km (19 mi)
Epicenter38.322°N 142.369°ECoordinates38.322°N 142.369°E
TypeMegathrust earthquake
Countries or regionsJapan (primary)
Pacific Rim (tsunami, secondary)
Total damageTsunami wave, flooding, landslides, fires, building and infrastructure damage, nuclear incidents including radiation releases
Max. intensityIX - Violent
Peak acceleration2.99 g
TsunamiUp to 40.5 m (133 ft)
in MiyakoIwateTōhoku
Aftershocks10,583 (as of 2 March 2014)[4]
Casualties15,884 deaths,[5]
6,148 injured,[6]
2,633 people missing[7]

The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku (東北地方太平洋沖地震 Tōhoku-chihō Taiheiyō Oki Jishin?), often referred to in Japan as the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災 Higashi nihon daishinsai?)[8][9][10][fn 1] and also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake,[11] and the 3.11 Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 (Mwundersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46JST (05:46 UTC) on Friday 11 March 2011,[2][3][12] with the epicentre approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku and the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 30 km (19 mi).[2][13] It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and the fifth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.[12][14][15] The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako in Tōhoku's Iwate Prefecture,[16][17] and which, in the Sendai area, travelled up to 10 km (6 mi) inland.[18] The earthquake moved Honshu (the main island of Japan) 2.4 m (8 ft) east and shifted the Earth on its axis by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in),[19][20][21] and generated sound waves detected by the low orbiting GOCE satellite.[22]
On 10 February 2014, a Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,884 deaths,[23] 6,148 injured,[24] and 2,633 people missing[25] across twenty prefectures, as well as 127,290 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 272,788 buildings 'half collapsed', and another 747,989 buildings partially damaged.[26] The earthquake and tsunami also caused extensive and severe structural damage in north-eastern Japan, including heavy damage to roads and railways as well as fires in many areas, and a dam collapse.[18][27] Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said, "In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan."[28] Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water.[29]
The tsunami caused nuclear accidents, primarily the level 7 meltdowns at three reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant complex, and the associated evacuation zones affecting hundreds of thousands of residents.[30][31] Many electrical generators were taken down, and at least three nuclear reactors suffered explosions due to hydrogen gas that had built up within their outer containment buildings after cooling system failure. Residents within a 20 km (12 mi) radius of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and a 10 km (6.2 mi) radius of theFukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant were evacuated. In addition, the U.S. recommended that its citizens evacuate up to 80 km (50 mi) of the plant.[32]
Early estimates placed insured losses from the earthquake alone at US$14.5 to $34.6 billion.[33] The Bank of Japan offered ¥15 trillion (US$183 billion) to the banking system on 14 March in an effort to normalize market conditions.[34] The World Bank's estimated economic cost was US$235 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in world history.[35][36]


2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami is located in Japan
Map showing the epicenter of the earthquake

USGS centroid moment tensor solution of the main tremor showing a visual representation of focal mechanism
The 9.0 magnitude (MWundersea megathrust earthquake occurred on 11 March 2011 at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) in the north-western Pacific Ocean at a relatively shallow depth of 32 km (19.9 mi),[37] with its epicenter approximately 72 km (45 mi) east of theOshika Peninsula of Tōhoku, Japan, lasting approximately six minutes.[1][2] The earthquake was initially reported as 7.9 MW by the USGS before it was quickly upgraded to 8.8  MW, then to 8.9  MW,[38] and then finally to 9.0  MW.[3][39] Sendaiwas the nearest major city to the earthquake, 130 km (81 mi) from the epicenter; the earthquake occurred 373 km (232 mi) from Tokyo.[2]
The main earthquake was preceded by a number of large foreshocks, with hundreds ofaftershocks reported. The first major foreshock was a 7.2 MW event on 9 March, approximately 40 km (25 mi) from the epicenter of the 11 March earthquake, with another three on the same day in excess of 6.0 MW.[2][40] Following the main earthquake on 11 March, a 7.0 MW aftershock was reported at 15:06 JST (6:06 UTC), succeeded by a 7.4  MW at 15:15 JST (6:16 UTC) and a 7.2  MW at 15:26 JST (6:26 UTC).[41] Over eight hundred aftershocks of magnitude 4.5  MW or greater have occurred since the initial quake,[42] including one on 26 October 2013 (local time) of magnitude 7.3.[43]Aftershocks follow Omori's Law, which states that the rate of aftershocks declines with the reciprocal of the time since the main quake. The aftershocks will thus taper off in time, but could continue for years.[44]
One minute before the earthquake was felt in Tokyo, the Earthquake Early Warning system, which includes more than 1,000 seismometers in Japan, sent out warnings of impending strong shaking to millions. It is believed that the early warning by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) saved many lives.[45][46] The warning for the general public was delivered about 8 seconds after the first P wave was detected, or about 31 seconds after the earthquake occurred. However, the estimated intensities were smaller than the actual ones in some places in Kanto and Tohoku regions. This was thought to be because of smaller estimated earthquake magnitude, smaller estimated fault plane, shorter estimated fault length, not having considered the shape of the fault, etc.[47] There were also cases where large differences between estimated intensities by the Earthquake Early Warning system and the actual intensities occurred in the aftershocks and triggered earthquakes.[48]


Map of the Tōhoku earthquake and aftershocks on 11–14 March

Hypocentral region boundaries (Source: The Japanese Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion)
This earthquake occurred where the Pacific Plate is subducting under the plate beneath northern Honshu; which plate is a matter of debate amongst scientists.[20][49] The Pacific plate, which moves at a rate of 8 to 9 cm (3.1 to 3.5 in) per year, dips under Honshu's underlying plate building large amounts of elastic energy. This motion pushes the upper plate down until the accumulated stress causes a seismic slip-rupture event. The break caused the sea floor to rise by several meters.[49] A quake of this magnitude usually has a rupture length of at least 500 km (300 mi) and generally requires a long, relatively straight fault surface. Because the plate boundary and subduction zone in the area of the Honshu rupture is not very straight, it is unusual for the magnitude of its earthquake to exceed 8.5; the magnitude of this earthquake was a surprise to some seismologists.[50] The hypocentral region of this earthquake extended from offshoreIwate Prefecture to offshore Ibaraki Prefecture.[51] The Japanese Meteorological Agencysaid that the earthquake may have ruptured the fault zone from Iwate to Ibaraki with a length of 500 km (310 mi) and a width of 200 km (120 mi).[52][53] Analysis showed that this earthquake consisted of a set of three events.[54] The earthquake may have had a mechanism similar to that of another large earthquake in 869 with an estimated surface wave magnitude (Ms) of 8.6, which also created a large tsunami.[55] Other major earthquakes with tsunamis struck the Sanriku Coast region in 1896 and in 1933.
In a study of N. Uchida and T. Matsuzawa, it was pointed out that the source area of this earthquake has a relatively high coupling coefficient surrounded by areas of relatively low coupling coefficients in the west, north, and south. From the averaged coupling coefficient of 0.5–0.8 in the source area and the seismic moment, it was estimated that the slip deficit of this earthquake was accumulated over a period of 260–880 years, which is consistent with the recurrence interval of such great earthquakes estimated from the tsunami deposit data. The seismic moment of this earthquake accounts for about 93% of the estimated cumulative moment from 1926 to March 2011. Hence, earthquakes with magnitudes about 7 since 1926 in this area only had released part of the accumulated energy. In the area near the trench, the coupling coefficient is high, which could act as the source of the large tsunami.[56]
Most of the foreshocks are interplate earthquakes with thrust-type focal mechanisms. Both interplate and intraplate earthquakes appeared in the aftershocks offshore Sanriku coast with considerable proportions.[57]
The strong ground motion registered at the maximum of 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale in Kurihara,Miyagi Prefecture.[58] Three other prefectures—FukushimaIbaraki and Tochigi—recorded an upper 6 on the JMA scale. Seismic stations in IwateGunmaSaitama and Chiba Prefecture measured a lower 6, recording an upper 5 in Tokyo.
In Russia, the main shock could be felt in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (MSK 4) and Kurilsk (MSK 4). The aftershock at 06:25 UTC could be felt in Yuzhno-Kurilsk (MSK 5) and Kurilsk (MSK 4).[59]


Damage to the antenna of Tokyo Tower
This energy of the seismic waves from the earthquake was surface energy (Me)1.9 ± 0.5×1017 joules,[60] which is nearly double that of the 9.1-magnitude 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that killed 230,000 people. If harnessed, the seismic energy from this earthquake would power a city the size of Los Angeles for an entire year.[44] The seismic moment (M0), which is represents a physical size for the event, was calculated by the USGS at 3.9×1022 joules,[61] slightly less than the 2004 Indian Ocean quake.
Japan's National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) calculated a peak ground acceleration of 2.99 g (29.33 m/s²).[62][fn 2] The largest individual recording in Japan was 2.7 g, in the Miyagi Prefecture, 75 km from the epicentre; the highest reading in the Tokyo metropolitan area was 0.16 g.[65]

Geophysical effects[edit]

Portions of northeastern Japan shifted by as much as 2.4 m (7.9 ft) closer to North America,[19][20] making some sections of Japan's landmass wider than before.[20]Those areas of Japan closest to the epicenter experienced the largest shifts.[20] A 400 km (250 mi) stretch of coastline dropped vertically by 0.6 m (2.0 ft), allowing the tsunami to travel farther and faster onto land.[20] One early estimate suggested that the Pacific plate may have moved westward by up to 20 m (66 ft),[66] and another early estimate put the amount of slippage at as much as 40 m (130 ft).[67] On 6 April the Japanese coast guard said that the quake shifted the seabed near the epicenter 24 meters (79 ft) and elevated the seabed off the coast of Miyagi prefecture by 3 meters.[68] A report by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, published in Science on 2 December 2011, concluded that the seabed in the area between the epicenter and the Japan Trench moved 50 meters east-southeast and rose about 7 meters as a result of the quake. The report also stated that the quake had caused several major landslides on the seabed in the affected area.[69]
The Earth's axis shifted by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in).[19][20][21] This deviation led to a number of small planetary changes, including the length of a day, the tilt of the Earth, and the Chandler wobble.[21] The speed of the Earth's rotation increased, shortening the day by 1.8 microseconds due to the redistribution of Earth's mass.[70] The axial shift was caused by the redistribution of mass on the Earth's surface, which changed the planet's moment of inertia. Because ofconservation of angular momentum, such changes of inertia result in small changes to the Earth's rate of rotation.[71] These are expected changes[21] for an earthquake of this magnitude.[19][70] The earthquake also generated sound waves detected by the GOCEsatellite, which thus serendipitously became the first seismograph in orbit.[22]
Soil liquefaction was evident in areas of reclaimed land around Tokyo, particularly inUrayasu,[72][73] Chiba CityFunabashiNarashino (all in Chiba Prefecture) and in the KotoEdogawaMinatoChūō, and ŌtaWards of Tokyo. Approximately 30 homes or buildings were destroyed and 1,046 other buildings were damaged to varying degrees.[74] Nearby Haneda Airport, built mostly on reclaimed land, was not damaged. Odaiba also experienced liquefaction, but damage was minimal.[75]
Shinmoedake, a volcano in Kyushu, erupted three days after the earthquake. The volcano had previously erupted in January 2011; it is not known if the later eruption was linked to the earthquake.[76] In Antarctica, the seismic waves from the earthquake were reported to have caused the Whillans Ice Stream to slip by about 0.5 m (1.6 ft).[77]

Map of seismic intensity observations resulting from mainshock
The first sign international researchers had that the earthquake caused such a dramatic change in the Earth’s rotation came from the United States Geological Survey which monitors Global Positioning Satellite stations across the world. The Survey team had several GPS monitors located near the scene of the earthquake. The GPS station located nearest the epicenter moved almost 4 m (13 ft). This motivated government researchers to look into other ways the earthquake may have had large scale effects on the planet. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory did some calculations and determined that the Earth’s rotation was changed by the earthquake to the point where the days are now 1.8 microseconds shorter.[78]
Dr. Richard Gross, one of the head researchers working for NASA, explained that the way the Earth rotates is not very smooth, like an old car wobbling on its axle. The earthquake's effect was as if a person took a hammer and whacked the car's axle, causing it to shift and the car to drive differently. The powerful earthquake hit the Earth’s axle, causing it to spin in a slightly different way.[79]

Nuclear power plants[edit]

Position of Japanese nuclear power stations and the spreading of the initial tsunami
The Fukushima DaiichiFukushima DainiOnagawa Nuclear Power Plant and Tōkai nuclear power stations, consisting of a total eleven reactors, were automatically shut down following the earthquake.[247] Higashidōri, also on the northeast coast, was already shut down for a periodic inspection. Cooling is needed to remove decay heatafter a Generation II reactor has been shut down, and to maintain spent fuel pools. The backup cooling process is powered by emergency diesel generators at the plants and at Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing plant.[248] At Fukushima Daiichi and Daini, tsunami waves overtopped seawalls and destroyed diesel backup power systems, leading to severe problems at Fukushima Daiichi, including three large explosions and radioactive leakage. Subsequent analysis found that many Japanese nuclear plants, including Fukushima Daiichi, were not adequately protected against tsunami.[249] Over 200,000 people were evacuated.[250]
The 7 April aftershock caused the loss of external power to Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant and Higashidori Nuclear Power Plant but backup generators were functional.Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant lost 3 of 4 external power lines and temporarily lost cooling function in its spent fuel pools for "20 to 80 minutes". A spill of "up to 3.8 liters" of radioactive water also occurred at Onagawa following the aftershock.[251]
A report by the IAEA in 2012 found that the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, the closest nuclear plant to the epicenter of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, had remained largely undamaged. The plant's 3 reactors automatically shut down without damage and all safety systems functioned as designed. The plant's 14 meter (46-foot) high seawall successfully withstood the tsunami.[252]
Europe's Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger addressed the European Parliament on 15 March, explaining that the nuclear disaster was an "apocalypse".[253] As the nuclear crisis entered a second month, experts recognized that Fukushima Daiichi is not the worst nuclear accident ever, but it is the most complicated. Nuclear experts stated that Fukushima will go down in history as the second-worst nuclear accident ever.... while not as bad as Chernobyl disaster, worse than Three Mile Island accident. It could take months or years to learn how damaging the release of dangerous isotopes has been to human health and food supplies, and the surrounding countryside.[254]
Later analysis indicated three reactors at Fukushima I (Units 1, 2, and 3) had suffered meltdowns and continued to leak coolant water,[30] and by summer the Vice-minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, and the head of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, had lost their jobs.[255]

Fukushima meltdowns[edit]

Loose livestock roam the evacuation zone
Japan declared a state of emergency following the failure of the cooling system at theFukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in the evacuation of nearby residents.[256][257][258] Officials from the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported that radiation levels inside the plant were up to 1,000 times normal levels,[259] and that radiation levels outside the plant were up to 8 times normal levels.[260] Later, a state of emergency was also declared at the Fukushima Daininuclear power plant about 11 km (7 mi) south.[261] This brought the total number of problematic reactors to six.[262]
It was reported that radioactive iodine was detected in the tap water in Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma, Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, and Niigata, and radioactive cesium in the tap water in Fukushima, Tochigi and Gunma.[263][264][265] Radioactive cesium, iodine, and strontium[266] were also detected in the soil in some places in Fukushima. There may be a need to replace the contaminated soil.[267] Many radioactive hotspots were found outside the evacuation zone, including Tokyo.[268] Food products were also found contaminated by radioactive matter in several places in Japan.[269] On 5 April 2011, the government of the Ibaraki Prefecture banned the fishing of sand lance after discovering that this species was contaminated by radioactive cesium above legal limits.[270] As late as July 2013 slightly elevated levels of radioactivity were found in beef on sale at Tokyo markets.[271] No death or morbidity has so far been reported as a result of the radioactive emissions.

Incidents elsewhere[edit]

A fire occurred in the turbine section of the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant following the earthquake.[248][272] The blaze was in a building housing the turbine, which is sited separately from the plant's reactor,[256] and was soon extinguished.[273] The plant was shut down as a precaution.[274]
On 13 March the lowest-level state of emergency was declared regarding the Onagawa plant as radioactivity readings temporarily[275] exceeded allowed levels in the area of the plant.[276][277] Tohoku Electric Power Co. stated this may have been due to radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accidents but was not from the Onagawa plant itself.[278]
As a result of the 7 April aftershock, Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant lost 3 of 4 external power lines and lost cooling function for as much as 80 minutes. A spill of a couple liters of radioactive water occurred at Onagawa.[251]
The number 2 reactor at Tōkai Nuclear Power Plant was shut down automatically.[247] On 14 March it was reported that a cooling system pump for this reactor had stopped working;[279] however, the Japan Atomic Power Company stated that there was a second operational pump sustaining the cooling systems, but that two of three diesel generators used to power the cooling system were out of order.[280]

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...this is brendasue signing off from Rainbow Creek.  See You next time!