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#218819 - 03/12/11 04:22 AM Re: Earthqauke in Japan [Re: stevenpd]
tmurase Offline
Stranger

Registered: 03/12/11
Posts: 6
Loc: California, USA
A few notes:

According to wikipedia, since 2007, Japan has an earthquake alert system in place, broadcasting warnings through TV and radio, etc, nationwide which may have given many people a minute or two to get ready.

Given the proximity of the epicenter to the coast (130 km to the closest point on land according to wikipedia), I really doubt many of the folks on the coast had much time even with the tsunami sirens going off (a system that has been in place since the 1950s). There are certainly video clips with the sirens going off, but I'm afraid in this case, the quake was just too close to the coast for too many people.

Re: our apparent indifference to the tsunami advisory. You have to understand, we have some of the worst local news broadcasts in the world. That is no exaggeration. These are "news" people who think every car chase is worth airtime. Where Lindsay Lohan is more important than local issues (City of Bell, anyone?). Where a barely measurable amount of rain warrants a "storm of the century" headline. So the typical overhyped, ham-fisted approach just means many never listen to the plastic surgery cases who cry wolf.

Plus this is Hollywood. Tsunamis are only waves that tower over skyscrapers, right?

Tsunami prediction is fairly good, and the Pacific is well modeled as to how an earthquake would propagate and who would suffer more. Hence the tsunami warnings for Hawaii and points north of us whereas we were issued the less severe advisory. We do have some local geography (e.g. the Channel Islands) that work in our favor in these kinds of events. I imagine should a similar earthquake occur in the Pacific Northwest, we'd get hit much harder.

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#218820 - 03/12/11 04:47 AM Re: Earthqauke in Japan [Re: tmurase]
aloha Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 1047
Loc: Hawaii, USA
_________________________
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http://hanzosoutdoors.blogspot.com/

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#218821 - 03/12/11 05:11 AM Re: Earthqauke in Japan [Re: stevenpd]
Pete Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1142
OK - remember my previous post about the nuclear reactors having problems? Well ... apparently the situation is much worse than the Japanese Gov't has been telling the media.

http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_17596304?source=rss

I guess in the great struggle between human technology and the mighty forces of nature - nature wins again.

Normally any radioactive material from a reactor meltdown should be held within the containment structure surrounding the reactor. However, in this case the containment structure may itself be damaged by the earthquake. So who knows??

other Pete


Edited by Pete (03/12/11 05:17 AM)

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#218824 - 03/12/11 08:20 AM Re: Earthqauke in Japan [Re: Pete]
LED Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1473
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Explosion reported at Fukushima power plant. From CNN. If there were a meltdown, wouldn't the jetstream carry the fallout this way pretty quickly?

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#218828 - 03/12/11 12:28 PM Re: Earthqauke in Japan [Re: stevenpd]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1890
Loc: Washington, DC
Hopefully, the Japan experience and the isolated tsunami damage in California and Oregon will raise lasting awareness among a significant number of residents of the U.S. west coast. Some of those folks may find their way to ETS.

Meanwhile, the tsunami alerts in Oregon and California provided some "teachable moments" for some public officials -- such as knowing warning systems will work when needed.

Oregon and Washington coasts will have only 30 minutes or so before a tsunami hits, when the subduction zone quake scenario in that region plays out as anticipated someday. I've spent many vacations at Cannon Beach, Oregon. We spend hours walking on that gorgeous miles-long beach, blissfully unaware of news reports. Have to be mentally conditioned run to higher ground after feeling a tremor.

Tillamook County, Oregon cheaped out on warning sirens ($1 surplus) and they didn't activate as they were supposed to:

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northw...outh_coast.html

"Some of the sirens in Tillamook County did not activate and had to be sounded by hand. The technology is very old, said Sheriff Todd Anderson, who noted the sirens were purchased for $1 from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and replacement parts cannot be found."


Portland is only 75 miles from the coast, a fact which has now spawned some increasing realization among some of my friends and relatives there that has resulted in some protracted e-mail exchanges with me since last night. I think at least a couple of them will take meaningful steps to increase their own preparedness at home and in their vehicles.


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#218829 - 03/12/11 12:49 PM Re: Earthqauke in Japan [Re: stevenpd]
Dagny Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/25/08
Posts: 1890
Loc: Washington, DC
More testament to the unfathomable force of the main quake:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/japan.earthquake.tsunami.earth/index.html?hpt=T1

(CNN) -- The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis [4 inches].



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#218830 - 03/12/11 02:36 PM Re: Earthqauke in Japan [Re: LED]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: LED
If there were a meltdown, wouldn't the jetstream carry the fallout this way pretty quickly?

A meltdown is still a big "if" since the actual containment vessel apparently is still intact, but any radioactive particles would be very dispersed after travelling thousands of miles to North America. Imagine pouring a bucket of poison into the Mississippi and trying to measure the level of that poison a thousand miles downstream.

Twenty years after Chernobyl, the best efforts of scientists and medical researchers found no significant increase in cancers in countries downwind of the disaster, like neighboring Belarus, which are much closer than we are to Japan. That's not to say that there were no cancers that weren't caused by Chernobyl, but they couldn't detect any deviation from the normal rate of cancer among people so nothing to definitively attribute to Chernobyl on a population level.

Well, there was one exception--a particular form of childhood cancer, but not a big increase. A highly survivable form of cancer, if I recall correctly.

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#218832 - 03/12/11 02:50 PM Re: Earthquake in Japan [Re: MartinFocazio]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: MartinFocazio
I have a live feed from NHK.

The English version of NHK's "World TV" feed can be viewed from this website from the upper right corner. They normally only have limited English programming, so don't expect hours and hours of different news material, like watching CNN.

They were showing this one five-story hospital from the air earlier. They said the tsunami reached the fourth floor! That's a sobering way of thinking about the neight of the tsunami, versus just saying it was X feet high. The two-story city hall building next to the hospital is just wiped from the face of the earth.

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#218833 - 03/12/11 03:04 PM Re: Earthquake in Japan [Re: stevenpd]
Pete Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1142
So what we've got is a Chernobyl-type incident at one of these nuclear power plants. Hopefully this type of radiation release is confined to just one plant, but since several nuclear reactors are involved ... we just don't know.

At this point the Japanese Government can no longer keep playing their cards close to their vest. They are going to need to provide accurate info to the world on what is going on. They were very tight-lipped before the reactor explosion, and they kept giving assurances that it could not happen. But obviously the earthquake damage to these power plants has been extensive.

Looking at TV, it appears that a lot of the exploded containment structure went into a cloud of debris that landed within a few hundred yards of the plant. But very likely they have now got radioactive material in the ocean as well as on land. And they are probably venting some residual gases into the air as well.

They need to get some airplanes into the sky, and some boats onto the ocean, to check radioactivity levels. My guess is that the international community will put tremendous pressure on Japan to get this information collected and released as soon as possible.

other Pete

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#218837 - 03/12/11 04:09 PM Re: Earthquake in Japan [Re: Pete]
Arney Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Pete
So what we've got is a Chernobyl-type incident at one of these nuclear power plants.

I think we're still a long ways from comparing this situation to Chernobyl. The release of radioactivity so far may make it more comparable to Three Mile Island as far as its actual impact on the surrounding area. And the containment vessel that actually houses the core still seems to be intact. At Chernobyl, you had the graphite core completely exposed to the outside, burning out of control and so hot that no amount of water could put it out, spewing massive quantities of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere.

At Fukushima, the control rods are all in place from what I understand, so the core will not go into uncontrolled fission. It's still generating heat, though, and that needs to be cooled or eventually bad things happen, but that's a far cry from the runaway disaster that was Chernobyl.

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