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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Nikkei 225 Japan -566.97 -5.53% 9,687.46 11:32pm ET


OH MY......This is not pretty either......LOOK OUT THE DOW TOMORROW as well!
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I highlighted something interesting in Bold .......SHORT TERM


The containment building is the primary containment for small accidents. It would never hold a meltdown scenario due to the pressure buildup.

The only reason the containment building did not do the same thing in 3 mile island is they vented a lot of radioactive steam out of the building.

The Japanese must have been trying to hold the line to fine.

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Japan radiation leak evokes U.S. Three Mile Island

The radiation leak in Japan immediately recalls memories of accidents at the Chernobyl andThree Mile Island power stations, and how it unfolds will be acritical test for international acceptance of nuclear energy.

There are direct comparisons with the 1979 disaster at Three Mile Island in the United States -- in both cases a cooling fault led to a build up of pressure in the radioactive core and resulted in a relatively small radiation leak. [ID:nL3E7EC07M]

Both use water to control the temperature as uranium degrades in a nuclear chain reaction at the reactors' core, creating steam which drives a turbine to generate electricity.

Link
Member Since: 2 août 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9874
1482. deazwe
The hydrogen is created when the zirconium cladding on the uranium pellets is heated to at least 2000F. At that point the water around the cladding can react with it to form zirconium oxide and hydrogen gas. This is one of the methods by which you determine if you have had a meltdown, by the magnitude of the hydrogen generation.

It is not easy to get hydrogen and oxygen to separate from each other in water. You cannot do it by means of superheating of water, at least by normal or conventional means....

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Quoting TampaSpin:


I highlighted something interesting in Bold .......SHORT TERM


Valid highlight... if they cannot keep the reactor core cooled.. then they have big time problems, they have already lost one level of containment.

You know they were in big trouble when they started to use saltwater for cooling, the minute they started that, they wrote off the entire complex, they will never be able to restart it.


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Begining to believe the Japanese Gov. contacted the CEO of BP for its PR!
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Quoting JohnTucker:
....


Would be interesting to hear his analisys of this new explosion. No way, this explosion is similar to the first one...
Member Since: 2 août 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9874
I am just glad I do not live on the west coast. Nothing may happen, but I'd be a little nervous. I also do not believe a word coming out of Japan right now.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Containment building

A containment building, in its most common usage, is a steel or reinforced concrete structure enclosing a nuclear reactor. It is designed, in any emergency, to contain the escape of radiation to a maximum pressure in the range of 60 to 200 psi[citation needed] ( 410 to 1400 kPa). The containment is the final barrier to radioactive release (part of a nuclear reactor's defence in depth strategy), the first being the fuel ceramic itself, the second being the metal fuel cladding tubes, the third being the reactor vessel and coolant system.[1]

The containment building itself is typically an airtight steel structure enclosing the reactor normally sealed off from the outside atmosphere. The steel is either free-standing or attached to the concrete missile shield. In the United States, the design and thickness of the containment and the missile shield are governed by federal regulations (10 CFR 50.55a), and must be strong enough to withstand the impact of a fully loaded passenger airliner without rupture.[2]

While the containment plays a critical role in the most severe nuclear reactor accidents, it is only designed to contain or condense steam in the short term (for large break accidents) and long term heat removal still must be provided by other systems. In the Three Mile Island accident the containment pressure boundary was maintained, but due to insufficient cooling, some time after the accident, radioactive gas was intentionally let from containment by operators to prevent over pressurization. This, combined with further failures caused the release of minimal amounts of radioactive gas to atmosphere during the accident.[3]


I highlighted something interesting in Bold .......SHORT TERM
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Oh great... now they are going to get snow by Wed for the area.
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1472. beell
Quoting TampaSpin:


Now that makes since that the gas is being released by a valve, so with that then Radaition must be released as well would you not believe?


It would be my uneducated guess that there would be some. Similar to what was measured in the first explosion. An identical cause and effect.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I hear ya.........i have looked at pics and don't understand how this pressure build up is coming and going if this water that is creating this blow if is coming from the Containment dome to used for cooling.....I don't get it?


Containment building

A containment building, in its most common usage, is a steel or reinforced concrete structure enclosing a nuclear reactor. It is designed, in any emergency, to contain the escape of radiation to a maximum pressure in the range of 60 to 200 psi[citation needed] ( 410 to 1400 kPa). The containment is the final barrier to radioactive release (part of a nuclear reactor's defence in depth strategy), the first being the fuel ceramic itself, the second being the metal fuel cladding tubes, the third being the reactor vessel and coolant system.[1]

The containment building itself is typically an airtight steel structure enclosing the reactor normally sealed off from the outside atmosphere. The steel is either free-standing or attached to the concrete missile shield. In the United States, the design and thickness of the containment and the missile shield are governed by federal regulations (10 CFR 50.55a), and must be strong enough to withstand the impact of a fully loaded passenger airliner without rupture.[2]

While the containment plays a critical role in the most severe nuclear reactor accidents, it is only designed to contain or condense steam in the short term (for large break accidents) and long term heat removal still must be provided by other systems. In the Three Mile Island accident the containment pressure boundary was maintained, but due to insufficient cooling, some time after the accident, radioactive gas was intentionally let from containment by operators to prevent over pressurization. This, combined with further failures caused the release of minimal amounts of radioactive gas to atmosphere during the accident.[3]
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Quoting beell:
Can't find the source right now but one account stated that the cladding on the fuel rods no longer covered by water reacts with steam to produce hydrogen. Would not bet the farm on this info though.

Pressurized steam is released via relief valves into the the reactor building. Hydrogen is lighter than air. Collects in the upper part of the building until it finds an ignition source.

Hydrogen hase a fairly wide explosive range. Between 4-75% volume of air.

Natural gas is 5-15% by comparison. Fill a room up with 20% methane by volume-it won't explode.


Now that makes since that the gas is being released by a valve, so with that then Radaition must be released as well would you not believe?
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The situation continues to get worse! If I was Cooper Anderson, I'd be on a plane back to the States! He needs to take some iodine pills immediately!
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Not at all hard to decouple hydrogen and oxygen on a gas stove. In an enclosed area, a heat source in the presence of enough water or water vapor can separate enough hydrogen, which will concentrate at the top...until boom.


But, at the top of where.......the Containment Dome or outside of it makes no sense to me......but, again i don't know these things other than the way gases work...
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1462. beell
Can't find the source right now but one account stated that the cladding on the fuel rods no longer covered by water reacts with steam to produce hydrogen. Would not bet the farm on this info though.

Pressurized steam is released via relief valves into the the reactor building. Hydrogen is lighter than air. Collects in the upper part of the building until it finds an ignition source.

Hydrogen hase a fairly wide explosive range. Between 4-75% volume of air.

Natural gas is 5-15% by comparison. Fill a room up with 20% methane by volume-it won't explode.
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Cooper should check where that fallout is heading, protect himself and ask for radiation measurement equipment to monitor his surroundings...
Member Since: 2 août 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9874

Quoting twincomanche:
WE ARE DOOMED! SURRENDER NOW EARTHLINGS!

Jeeze you people.
Why do you keep saying that?
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CNN says the report is the building is totally destroyed but the unit is intact.
Goodnight Neapolitan.
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Quoting P451:
1447: I have wondered as well how the outer building could be leveled as they have without the inner building being the root cause. It doesn't make sense. Something is being left out in the explanation.


I hear ya.........i have looked at pics and don't understand how this pressure build up is coming and going if this water that is creating this blow if is coming from the Containment dome to used for cooling.....I don't get it?
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Quoting emcf30:
Wow, that was much more intense that the explosion in building #1. There was a large Flash / Fireball with #3 unlike a small one with #1. Much more violent. Thanks for the link sunlinepr
Note for those who have ATT UVerse for cable, they have activated japan tv ( channel 3680 ) for free to watch live diaster coverage. The down side, can't understand a word they are saying.


#
0328: Seven people are missing and three people have been injured by the explosion at the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant, the AFP news agency reports, quoting an official from Tepco, the company which operates the plant.
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I'm off to bed, and I'm going to dream of a land where children and the elderly can sleep safe and warm in their own beds, not hungry and huddled under a lonely blanket in a cold, dark, mud-covered school gymnasium; a world without dirty and unsafe energy; a government without lies or allegiances to business; a corporation where profit doesn't matter more than people.

Good night, all...
Member Since: 8 novembre 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13613
1454. emcf30
Wow, that was much more intense that the explosion in building #1. There was a large Flash / Fireball with #3 unlike a small one with #1. Much more violent. Thanks for the link sunlinepr
Note for those who have ATT UVerse for cable, they have activated japan tv ( channel 3680 ) for free to watch live diaster coverage. The down side, can't understand a word they are saying.
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Quoting alfabob:
Anyone ever figure out where exactly this hydrogen is coming from that is supposedly causing these "collapsing roofs". I'm leaning towards thermal decomposition of the cooling water leading to hydrogen/oxygen gas, but then again that occurs around 2000C at normal pressure; could be much lower for high pressure environments. If this were true, then I'm almost certain that the inner case has been breached which caused the explosion(s). I just can't see the hydrogen coming from anywhere else and if the core did get into such environment, well then it would be impossible for it not to explode.
Not at all hard to decouple hydrogen and oxygen on a gas stove. In an enclosed area, a heat source in the presence of enough water or water vapor can separate enough hydrogen, which will concentrate at the top...until boom.
Member Since: 16 août 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12463
Quoting alfabob:
Anyone ever figure out where exactly this hydrogen is coming from that is supposedly causing these "collapsing roofs". I'm leaning towards thermal decomposition of the cooling water leading to hydrogen/oxygen gas, but then again that occurs around 2000C at normal pressure; could be much lower for high pressure environments. If this were true, then I'm almost certain that the inner case has been breached which caused the explosion(s). I just can't see the hydrogen coming from anywhere else and if the core did get into such environment, well then it would be impossible for it not to explode.


Sure looks like a bottle up pressure blow off! So where would this pressure be confined at to the point of blowing if it was not coming from the containment dome......I don't know crap about this stuff honestly.
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Quoting sunlinepr:
Looks more powerfull than the 1rst one



Thats one heck of a simple gas release.......WOW
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1446. beell
Quoting Neapolitan:
The Japanese government insists that the situation at Fukushima units #1 & #3 is under control; it's not a health issue, there's very little possibility of radiation escaping, and any meltdown is partial and temporary.

Good. I will sleep much better tonight... :-\


Probably sleep better than the folks in Japan.
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Looks bad.... more powerfull than the 1rst one... I wonder if they are telling the truth...

Member Since: 2 août 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9874
Quoting Orcasystems:


CNN just showed a pic of #3, and you could see #1 off to the left.... #3 has a lot more visible damage.

P.S. WTF is a "temporary" meltdown?

Yes, the damage to unit #3 does look substantially worse.

"Temporary" was a term I heard: a small meltdown had gotten underway, but the emergency injection of seawater and boron was going to stop the melting. Or something like that...
Member Since: 8 novembre 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13613
Good night all.
Kiss your loved one, say your prayers and sleep well. Nite, nite.
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2.05pm There are serious concerns of a complete nuclear meltdown after the explosion in the Fukushima Number 3 reactor.

It is feared around 160 people may have been exposed to radiation.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/world/magnitude-quake-strik es-japan/story-e6frfkyi-1226019903430#ixzz1GXXmsTJ t



Member Since: 2 août 2010 Posts: 21 Comments: 9874
Quoting Neapolitan:
The Japanese government insists that the situation at Fukushima units #1 & #3 is under control; it's not a health issue, there's very little possibility of radiation escaping, and any meltdown is partial and temporary.

Good. I will sleep much better tonight... :-\


CNN just showed a pic of #3, and you could see #1 off to the left.... #3 has a lot more visible damage.

P.S. WTF is a "temporary" meltdown?
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The Japanese government insists that the situation at Fukushima units #1 & #3 is under control; it's not a health issue, there's very little possibility of radiation escaping, and any meltdown is partial and temporary.

Good. I will sleep much better tonight... :-\
Member Since: 8 novembre 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13613

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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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