Great Japan quake generates 8-foot tsunami in California

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 23:00 GMT le 11 Mars 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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837. beell
01:34 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
I'll vote for the "flood the things with sea water and shut them down scenario. It's really all they can do at this point. Once this decision is made, the danger falls off fairly quickly. The danger lies in trying to "save" them. One, maybe two of these reactors are done-never to produce power again.

Member Since: 11 septembre 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16920
836. Ossqss
01:34 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Just goin through the mail bag and thought I would share. Interesting stuff

How Science Helps Communities Survive Earthquakes
Member Since: 12 juin 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
835. Chicklit
01:30 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Link to CNN article about reactor situation from ~1 hr. ago.

Islander, unfortunately yes it feels reminiscent of that. Let's hope this isn't another full-fledged cluster you know what.
Member Since: 11 juillet 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
834. Xyrus2000
01:29 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting WatchingThisOne:


Corium (former reactor core) is at many thousands of degrees when it sinks through the (former) containment building floor.

Depending on what it is sinking into, there may be a rapid and dangerous release of a lot of radioactive particles and gases. That is my current understanding, but this is not my area.


It's got a ways to go before melting through. First it has to get through the reactor casings. Then it has to get through the containment floor. Then it has to get through the flooring under that. If it was built to code, the corium lava would have to melt through quite a bit of material before every making it through. (Chernobyl's corium never made it through and ended up solidifying into long streamers from where it melted).

If the reactor is built on top of rock and not near any water table then contamination should be minimal. If it is sand/clay/dirt, the corium would likely turn it into liquid glass which may act as a container once it cooled.

The risk for an explosion or outgassing is fairly small unless there is a large pool of water or other quickly vaporizing/decomposable material that the corium comes into contact with.

The big danger for contamination in the case of melting through the floor is if the reactor is in a location where it can leech into the water table. Instant superfund site, and you wouldn't want to be eating any of the local sushi for a while.
Member Since: 31 octobre 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1655
833. islander101010
01:28 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
isnt weird now we are listening to tokyo power corp for info. remember bp
Member Since: 11 septembre 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 5001
832. sunlinepr
01:26 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Found this info. in flickr.com




japan: fukushima 1 nuclear power plant exploded

yep, that's one of the reactor containment buildings (though i cannot get exact layout plans on what is what so far), but i'm certain it's one of the reactor containment buildings... and it seems like it exploded, at least partly.

aerial view: wikipedia.org; explosion: video stills, www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg4uogOEUrU

EDIT: it's not necessarily the reactor itself that exploded, but the reactor is contained within that square building that just (at least partly) exploded. however, the explosion was not necessarily CAUSED by the reactor core itself. it might as well just be the roof and walls then went flying off, and the reactor core is still there.

however, i really dont see how this could turn out "well", like, i wouldnt know how it would be possible to securely cool the reactor core with the building around it being destroyed! i'm quite sure the coolant systems - even if it was possible to supply them with external power - now suffered from damage due to the explosion, too.
Member Since: 2 août 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
831. beell
01:25 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting aquak9:
oh dear...beell's talking to himself...

gramma was busy back at the ranch, wasn't she?

:)


LOL, i ain't scared!

single handedly beating off the indians one by one, she was.
Member Since: 11 septembre 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16920
830. PcolaDan
01:25 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting NHCaddict:
Has there been any news about the tsunami hitting South America?



Minor tsunami damage in Latin America
Member Since: 22 août 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
828. NHCaddict
01:22 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:

Not too much damage. This pretty much sums it up.


Phew, thanks Neapolitan.

Member Since: 16 septembre 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 71
827. flsky
01:21 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
"Supermoon" moonquakes, debunked.

Link
Member Since: 24 octobre 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 2111
826. Jedkins01
01:20 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
It is sad that it often takes huge disasters for humanity to band together peacefully, its weird, its like the leisure and good times is what starts wars.

Accept for sports, that always reminds people of the common humanity we share and to treat each other with love and respect.
Member Since: 21 août 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8016
825. ShenValleyFlyFish
01:20 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting aquak9:
oh dear...beell's talking to himself...

gramma was busy back at the ranch, wasn't she?

:)
but they just wouldn't quit
Member Since: 9 septembre 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
824. Neapolitan
01:20 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting NHCaddict:
Has there been any news about the tsunami hitting South America?


Not too much damage. This pretty much sums it up.
Member Since: 8 novembre 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13800
823. Chicklit
01:18 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
I expect Dr. Masters will address the wind and the particulars of the nuclear meltdown issue for us.

Descriptive Forecast Fukushima, Japan
Sunday
Partly Cloudy. High: 54 F. Wind West 5 - 10 mph. Windchill: 38 F.
Sunday Night
Clear. Low: 30 F. Wind West 4 mph. Windchill: 21 F.
Hourly Forecast 6AM 12 Noon 6PM 12 Midnight
Temp. | Dew Point 34 | 25 52 | 25 45 | 36 30 | 25
Wind 1 mph ENE 10 mph NW 4 mph North 4 mph WSW
Humidity 68% 33% 72% 81%
Chance of Precip. 0% 0% 0% 0%
Cloud Cover 0% 77% 7% 0%
Conditions Clear Mostly Cloudy Clear Clear
Sunrise & Sunset 5:53 AM5:42 PM

Source: Weather Underground BestForecast
Member Since: 11 juillet 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
821. Jedkins01
01:14 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting Xyrus2000:


Yes it is, but the you're not going to get that here in the US. Nor are you going to get that unless you're getting all cozy with the reactor cores.


and most of us aren't too comfortable snuggling with reactor cores, lol
Member Since: 21 août 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8016
820. sunlinepr
01:12 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Tsunami surge deals blow to struggling Calif. town
By JEFF BARNARD, Associated Press Jeff Barnard, Associated Press 1 hr 7 mins ago

CRESCENT CITY, Calif.- Fishermen who had escaped to sea before the tsunami hit this struggling coastal town landed small loads of crab on Saturday, while crews surveyed damage and a family combed the beach for any sign of a man who was swept away a day ago as he photographed the waves.

"This harbor is the lifeblood of our community and the soul of our community," said Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson as he looked across what was left of the Crescent City boat basin, which last year saw landings of crab and fish worth $12.5 million. "The fishing industry is the identity and soul of this community, besides tourism.

The region has never really recovered from the loss of the timber industry in the 1980s and 1990s, and downturns in salmon fishing, said Wilson, who fished on his father's boats as a young man.

"It's going to be hard to recover here," he said.

A series of powerful surges generated by the devastating earthquake in Japan arrived about 7:30 a.m. Friday and pounded the harbor through the day and night. Waves funneled into the sheltered docks created furious currents that heaved up docks, broke loose boats, and sent them careening around like billiard balls.

Eight are believed sunk, and one damaged. An unmanned sailboat sucked out of the harbor ran aground on the coast.

Among the losses was Dustin Weber of Bend, Ore., who was swept away Friday as he and two friends watched the waves. His father, Jon Weber, and his family searched the beach Saturday about 20 miles to the south, in the community of Klamath.

More; Link
Member Since: 2 août 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9882
819. Patrap
01:12 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
2 days ago this was uploaded


Uploaded by SolarWatcher on Mar 8, 2011

A Strong Earthquake Strikes Near The Coast Of Honshu, Japan ... no significant reports of Tsunami associated with this event

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818. aquak9
01:12 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
oh dear...beell's talking to himself...

gramma was busy back at the ranch, wasn't she?

:)
Member Since: 13 août 2005 Posts: 177 Comments: 26644
817. Jedkins01
01:10 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting Neapolitan:
Meanwhile, back at the ranch: just 79 days, 22 hours, and 57 minutes until hurricane season officially kicks off.


LOL me and my friends always say "Meanwhile back at the ranch"

hahaha :)
Member Since: 21 août 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8016
816. Ossqss
01:10 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
This whole thing just does not feel right, again...


http://live.reuters.com/Event/Japan_earthquake2

Hopefully California is payin attention to those recent Gulf of California and Alaska shakers.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsw w/Quakes/quakes_all.php

If you interested in the boundary types, here ya go. I was always fascinated by this stuff

http://www.platetectonics.com/book/page_5.asp

Member Since: 12 juin 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188
815. NHCaddict
01:09 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Has there been any news about the tsunami hitting South America?

Member Since: 16 septembre 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 71
814. beell
01:09 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting beell:


ey, imagine that. I agree with you. And why I called it a "shed".



course, i would have used "construction". but "constitution" is refreshing!
Member Since: 11 septembre 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16920
812. WatchingThisOne
01:03 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Correct, I changed it to reactor building.


I have been operating under a mistaken assumption. Apologies to all.
Member Since: 15 juillet 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1270
811. beell
01:03 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting JohnTucker:
That is a building over the containment structure. Not containment itself. That wouldn't have a that kind of constitution. (girder and panel)


ey, imagine that. I agree with you. And why I called it a "shed".
Member Since: 11 septembre 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16920
809. Neapolitan
01:03 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Meanwhile, back at the ranch: just 79 days, 22 hours, and 57 minutes until hurricane season officially kicks off.
Member Since: 8 novembre 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13800
808. Beachfoxx
01:03 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
P.S.S.
love Widespread Panic too!
Rock on!
Quoting islander101010:
what we will do for power turn the heat lower ac higher future look for high energy prices after andrew south of miami and hugo in st croix the national guard had to come in it was chaos ps love "widespread panic" they rock
Member Since: 10 juillet 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29385
807. Beachfoxx
01:02 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Katrina - the list is long....
So far the news media continues to describe the scene in Japan as orderly. I hope they can maintain the order since they will be dealing with hunger, thrist, medical and other emergencies as times passes and people become more frantic.
Quoting islander101010:
what we will do for power turn the heat lower ac higher future look for high energy prices after andrew south of miami and hugo in st croix the national guard had to come in it was chaos
Member Since: 10 juillet 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29385
806. nrtiwlnvragn
01:01 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting JohnTucker:
That is a building over the containment structure. Not containment itself. That wouldn't have a that kind of constitution. (girder and panel)


Correct, I changed it to reactor building.
Member Since: 23 septembre 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11343
805. beell
01:01 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:


Once somthing gets started on the internets....

Instead of ignition, the Tokyo Electric Power Company refers to it as "the explosive sound".


engrish...
Member Since: 11 septembre 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16920
803. Chicklit
01:00 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
It will be interesting to see how public authorities along the US West Coast begin to handle the situation if there is a meltdown of any one or all of the reactors.

Expect everyone to start getting physics lessons fairly soon, anyway, at least one would hope so as rumors will be flying around.

People need to stay calm and be informed.
Public concerns should be taken seriously and not brushed off.
Nor should anyone be dramatizing the situation.

Last year when the Iceland volcano blew there was a similar global effect to a natural occurrence, with profound effect on the lives of people over a very large geographical area.

Interesting how public health is taking a global turn, regardless of whether the experts say there is nothing unusual or linked about these occurrences.
Member Since: 11 juillet 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
802. islander101010
00:58 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
what we will do for power turn the heat lower ac higher future look for high energy prices
Quoting Beachfoxx:
YES! sadly it takes a major disaster to bring people together.
after andrew south of miami and hugo in st croix the national guard had to come in it was chaos ps love "widespread panic" they rock
Member Since: 11 septembre 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 5001
801. Beachfoxx
00:58 GMT le 13 Mars 2011
Regarding the Fallout Map - I've seen it on a couple of blogs all of which declare it a fake.
I don't know, but if you got to US NRC site it is not there.
Member Since: 10 juillet 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 29385
Quoting beell:


Damage seems consistent with hydrogen (lighter than air)collecting in the top of the reactor shed until ignition.

Might be time to repost your link regarding "Australian Radiation Services", nrt!



Once somthing gets started on the internets....

Instead of ignition, the Tokyo Electric Power Company refers to it as "the explosive sound".
Member Since: 23 septembre 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11343
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Best picture of containment building I have seen.




.
Member Since: 15 juillet 2005 Posts: 3 Comments: 1270
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Gee, the season hasn't started. Hate to get started with EGNORE and RE-PORT, BTW where did ignore go?
my bad I found it
Member Since: 9 septembre 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Gee, the season hasn't started. Hate to get started with EGNORE and RE-PORT, BTW where did ignore go?


Still there next to quote on mine.
Member Since: 22 août 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting Ossqss:
It is truly incredible the number of 5.0 or higher quakes that have been registered in Japan over the last few days and continue unabated. I don't think I have ever viewed anything even remotely close. Look for yourself. This filters everything out but that size or larger. Amazing to think what it is like to be there when the ground shakes that hard, that often and over that long a period of time.......

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsw w/Quakes/quakes_big.php


I've been watching this. I can't begin to imagine how unnerving it must be to through almost two days of constantly feeling the earth shake underneath you. And not just a little either.
Member Since: 22 août 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
793. DEKRE
Quoting RitaEvac:
If that stuff gets high enough into jet stream that would be the legit path of direction, but I know nothing about radiation or how high in atmoshphere it travels.



It is a fake. The Australian Radiation Services does NOT emit any maps like this.
Member Since: 27 avril 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 306
792. beell
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Best picture of containment building I have seen.




Damage seems consistent with hydrogen (lighter than air)collecting in the top of the reactor shed until ignition.

Might be time to repost your link regarding "Australian Radiation Services", nrt!

Member Since: 11 septembre 2007 Posts: 145 Comments: 16920
Gee, the season hasn't started. Hate to get started with EGNORE and RE-PORT, BTW where did ignore go?
Member Since: 9 septembre 2007 Posts: 36 Comments: 4687
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Actually I had it wrong. Tazz did it right. It's "Where DOOM". Tazz is a good sport.



LOL
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Best picture of containment reactor building I have seen.


Member Since: 23 septembre 2005 Posts: 15 Comments: 11343
It’s perhaps better to just check the updates on the IAEA (International Atomic Emergency Agency) Alert Log instead of different news sites to get a better view of the situation with the Japanese reactors?

IAEA Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
It is truly incredible the number of 5.0 or higher quakes that have been registered in Japan over the last few days and continue unabated. I don't think I have ever viewed anything even remotely close. Look for yourself. This filters everything out but that size or larger. Amazing to think what it is like to be there when the ground shakes that hard, that often and over that long a period of time.......

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsw w/Quakes/quakes_big.php
Member Since: 12 juin 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 8188

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