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Old 03-13-2011, 07:14 PM  
mohel
 
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The Day the Earth moved

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1365821/The-day-earth-really-did-How-Japanese-earthquake-tilted-worlds-axis-25cm.html
[B]How the earthquake tilted the world's axis by 25cm (and could even cost us a microsecond a day)

Parts of Japan's coastline shifted 2.4metres

Quote:
The earthquake that struck Japan on Friday was so powerful that it actually moved the whole planet by 25cm, experts say.
According to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology the 9.0 magnitude 'quake was so powerful it shifted the axis around which the Earth rotates.
And the U.S. Geological Survey reported that the main island of Japan has been shifted 2.4 metres by the force of the disaster.
The shift to the Earth's tilt will have profound, if subtle effects on the length of the day and the passage of the seasons.
Like a figure skater drawing in her arms during a pirouette, the speed of the planet's rotation will change as the globe's mass has been redistributed.
But Canadian geologists say that the 'very, very tiny' changes won't be seen for centuries.
'Ten inches [25cm] sounds like quite a lot when you hold a ruler in front of you. But if you think of it in terms of the earth as a whole, it's absolutely tiny; it's minute,' University of Toronto professor Andrew Miall told Postmedia News.
'It's going to make minute changes to the length of a day. It could make very, very tiny changes to the tilt of the earth, which affects the seasons, but these effects are so small, it'd take very precise satellite navigation to pick it up.


Quote:
Incredible swarms of fish form off coast of Acapulco: But was surge caused by tsunami thousands of miles away?
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

The shores of Acapulco's beaches were this weekend teeming with masses of fish packed so tightly they looked like an oil slick from above.

Thousands of sardines, anchovies, stripped bass and mackerel surged along the coast of the Mexican resort in an event believed to be linked to the devastating Japanese tsunami.

Delighted fishermen rushed out in wooden motor boats, abandoning their rods and nets and simply scooping the fish up with buckets.












Quote:
'You see cities still underwater; the reason is subsidence,' he said. 'The land actually dropped, so when the tsunami came in, it's just staying.'
Earthquakes of this magnitude are only seen once in every 1,000 years off the coast of Japan, according to Japanese seismologists.
Satoko Oki, of the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute, told the Japan Times the massive quake was caused by a rupture near the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates.
The Pacific plate then slipped under Japan at the Japan Trench, causing violent tremors and sending tsunami as high as ten meters slamming into the island's east coast.




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Old 03-13-2011, 09:25 PM  
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The government insisted radiation levels were low following Saturday's explosion, saying the blast had not affected the reactor core container, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had been told by Japan that levels 'have been observed to lessen in recent hours'.
But Japan's nuclear safety agency said the number of people exposed to radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi plant could reach 160. Workers in protective clothing were scanning people arriving at evacuation centres for radioactive exposure.
These pictures reveal the brutal aftermath of the tsunami, but an amateur video posted online, filmed by one of the town?s residents, shows the terrifying moment the wave hit.
It shows people desperately driving uphill to escape the wave and the road lined with locals watching open-mouthed as their homes are swept away.
The horrifying footage focuses briefly on those people caught in the traffic, including emergency vehicles, which failed to escape in time. One bus narrowly misses being washed away after speeding uphill as those filming shout ?Run! Run!?.
Two hundred people were said to have been evacuated from the roof of the hospital and police believe the tidal wave may have washed away an entire train.
One photograph showed the letters ?SOS? written on the ground in the car park of the Minami Sanriku Elementary School. The letter H, surrounded by a circle, had also been added, a plea for helicopter assistance.
Tsunami warnings were issued to the entire Pacific seaboard, but the worst fears were not realised. Widespread damage was caused to some coast areas, including California, but there were no reports of fatalities.
President Barack Obama has pledged U.S. assistance and said one aircraft carrier was already in Japan and a second was on its way.
Japan's worst previous earthquake was an 8.3-magnitude temblor in Kanto which killed 143,000 people in 1923. A 7.2-magnitude quake in Kobe killed 6,400 people in 1995.
The country lies on the 'Ring of Fire' - an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching across the Pacific where around 90 per cent of the world's quakes occur.
An estimated 230,000 people in 12 countries were killed after a quake triggered a massive tsunami on Boxing Day, 2004, in the Indian Ocean.



















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Old 03-14-2011, 04:39 PM  
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Minami Sanriku

Quote:
About 1,000 bodies were found Monday on several shores on the Oshika Peninsula in Miyagi Prefecture, and police and firefighters worked to recover another 200 to 300 bodies in Sendai, the Kyodo news agency reported.
Ominous reports had emerged over the weekend from Minami Sanriku, where more than half of the 17,000 residents had not been accounted for. On Monday, the visuals seemed to affirm the horrifying math as recovery teams sifted through an utterly ruined and silent city, looking for the dead and signs of life.
Minami Sanriku is nestled at the end of Shizugawa Bay, a 2-mile-wide, 5-mile-long body of water that opens into the Pacific Ocean.
HTML Code:
http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/14/japan.rescue/

Quote:
A particular feature of the 40-year old General Electric Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor model ? such as the six reactors at the Fukushima site ? is that each reactor has a separate spent-fuel pool. These sit near the top of each reactor and adjacent to it, so that cranes can remove spent fuel from the reactor and deposit it in a swimming-pool-like concrete structure near the top of the reactor vessel, inside each reactor building.
If the hydrogen explosions damaged those pools ? or systems needed to keep them cool ? they could become a big problem. Keeping spent-fuel pools cool is critical and could potentially be an even more severe problem than a reactor meltdown, some experts say. If water drains out, the spent fuel could produce a fire that would release vast amounts of radioactivity, nuclear experts and anti-nuclear activists warn.

"There should be much more attention paid to the spent-fuel pools," says Arjun Makhijani, a nuclear engineer and president of the anti-nuclear power Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. "If there's a complete loss of containment [and thus the water inside], it can catch fire. There's a huge amount of radioactivity inside ? far more than is inside the reactors. The damaged reactors are less likely to spread the same vast amounts of radiation that Chernobyl did, but a spent-fuel pool fire could very well produce damage similar to or even greater than Chernobyl."


The threat from plutonium-rich MOX

Another little-reported concern is a small but potentially dangerous amount of plutonium-based "MOX" ? mixed-oxide fuel ? inside the No. 3 reactor, says Dr. Lyman, who notes that plutonium particles are more dangerous to the human body than other particles that might be emitted.

Tokyo Electric said some three yards of a MOX fuel rod was above the water line, suggesting that plutonium and other elements could be in the gases vented to the atmosphere, reported the Kyodo News Agency.

"If the core of that No. 3 reactor melts and venting occurs, some of that plutonium and other nasty elements present in that fuel could end up on the winds," Lyman says.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:06 PM  
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3rd Reactor Explosion

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The Japanese nuclear safety agency says explosion heard at Unit 2 of Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Earlier a cloud of radioactive dust billowed from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant after it suffered its second explosion in three days.
Government officials admitted that it was ?highly likely? the fuel rods in three separate reactors had started to melt despite repeated efforts to cool them with sea water. Safety officials said they could not rule out a full meltdown as workers struggled to keep temperatures under control in the cores of the reactors.
The Fukushima crisis now rates as a more serious accident than the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in the US in 1979, and is second only to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, according to the French nuclear safety authority. After insisting for three days that the situation was under control, Japan urgently appealed to US and UN nuclear experts for technical help on preventing white-hot fuel rods melting.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it was ?unlikely? that the accident would turn into another Chernobyl, but failed to rule it out completely.
HTML Code:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8382139/Japan-crisis-third-explosion-raises-spectre-of-nuclear-nightmare.html
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Old 03-18-2011, 02:14 PM  
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Japan raises nuclear alert level

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12789749
Quote:
As it was almost bound to do at some point, Japan's nuclear safety agency has uprated its assessment of the Fukushima power station incident from a level four to a level five.

These are categories on the International Nuclear and Radiological Events Scale (INES), which runs from zero (nothing happened, essentially) to seven, a "major accident".

So far, Chernobyl is the only seven-rated incident in nuclear history.

Level five is defined as an "accident with wider consequences".

So what is the worst-case scenario for those "wider consequences" at Fukushima?

What clues are there either from that level five rating, or from the situation on the ground, as to how things might transpire - whether it will in the end prove to have been a disaster or a distraction from the serious and widespread impact of the tsunami?

"The worst-case scenario would be where you have the fission products in stored canisters or in the reactors being released," said Professor Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at Royal Berkshire Hospital, UK.

"Radiation levels would then be very high around the plant, which is not to say they'd reach the general public.

"And we're definitely not in the situation where we're going to see another Chernobyl - that possibility has long gone."

Distant advice
The level five rating applies specifically to the nuclear reactors in buildings 2 and 3 at Fukushima, rather than to the spent fuel cooling ponds that have lost water and where the stored fuel is heating up.

That implies that the regulators believe the main source of radioactivity coming from the plant has been the reactors.

Certainly, one of the the spikes in readings earlier in the week appeared to co-incide with damage to reactor number 2, believed to be a crack in the containment system - the symptoms being a sharp release of steam and an abrupt drop in pressure.

On Thursday and Friday, radiation levels around the plant appeared much more stable.

And although elevated readings have been noted in some locations 30km from Fukushima, there has been nothing outside the 30km protection zone that has appeared to pose a danger to health.

Despite this, a number of governments have advised their citizens to stay much further away - or in the case of the UK, to consider doing so.

However, when the UK's chief scientific adviser explained the reasoning to BBC News on Thursday, he was still painting a worst-case scenario that appeared some way short of apocalyptic.

"The worst-case scenario would see the ponds starting to emit serious amounts of radiation, with some of the reactors going into a meltdown phase," he said.

"We put that together with [a possible scenario of] extremely unfavourable weather conditions - wind in the direction of Tokyo, for example.

"Even in that situation, the radiation that we believe could come into the Tokyo area is such that you could mitigate it with relatively straightforward measures, for example staying indoors and keeping the windows closed."

Local issue
Fukushima now becomes the third level five incident in half a century of nuclear power.
The first was the Windscale reactor fire in the UK in 1957 - the second, the partial meltdown of a reactor at Three Mile Island in the US in 1979.

Richard Wakeford from the Dalton Nuclear Institute, a visiting professor in epidemiology at the University of Manchester, recently re-assessed the effect of radiation released at Windscale.

Using data and computer models, his scientific paper concluded that the release could have caused about 240 cases of cancer, half of them fatal.

However, inquiries into Three Mile Island concluded it probably caused no deaths.

That raises the question of why both are in the same INES category, given that Three Mile Island did not, in the end, have more than a local impact.

"The reason why Three Mile Island was rated a five is that there was major damage to the reactor core and there was potential for a widespread release of radioactive material - it didn't happen, but that potential is built into the event scale," said Professor Wakeford.

In terms of material released, he said: "Fukushima is somewhere between the two - clearly there have been releases, and you have a possible breach of the containment system - no-one really knows."
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:35 PM  
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Legacy From the 1800s Is Making Tokyo Dark

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http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/03/tech-legacy-tokyo/
Quote:
A strange legacy of the Japanese power system?s infancy in the late 1800s is complicating efforts to keep Tokyo supplied with electricity.
The problem, as explained by IDG New Service?s Martyn Williams, is that half of the country uses power whose current alternates at 60Hz, while the other half gets its power at 50Hz.

The discrepancy has to do with the founding of electric power in the country. Tokyo Electric Light Co. used German generators, which operated at 50Hz, while in the west part of Japan, Osaka Electric Lamp Co. used generators from General Electric, an American company, operating at the same 60Hz standard that is used in the U.S. to this day.

Unlike the U.S. grid, the Japanese power grid was never unified around a single standard. While it?s possible to connect the two grids, the frequency changing stations required can only handle up to 1 gigawatt.

When the quake hit, it shut down 11 reactors including three that were in operation at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that is now at the center of Japan?s nuclear problems. With the 11 reactors offline, 9.7GW was gone from eastern Japan?s electricity production capacity.

And that?s the root of Tokyo?s current electricity problems: utility companies in west Japan are unable to make up for all of the lost power.

Residents of Japan have faced a crisis of unimaginable proportions, with earthquakes followed by a tsunami followed by a nuclear disaster. The rolling blackouts in Tokyo are, in comparison, a relatively minor problem.

Still, it?s interesting to see how historical decisions from over a century ago can have unexpected consequences today ? all because of a frequency mismatch. Chalk it up to path dependency.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:57 PM  
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Why California is next

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Massive earthquakes sometimes trigger temblors across oceans, says Simon Winchester in Newsweek. And science suggests that, after Japan, the Big One could be coming to California
POSTED ON MARCH 14, 2011, AT 11:25 AM


Quote:
"Mankind inhabits this Earth subject to geological consent," says Simon Winchester in Newsweek. And, as demonstrated by the earthquake and resulting tsunami that brought Japan to its knees, this consent "can be withdrawn at any time." Japan sits "at the junction of a web of tectonic-plate boundaries that make it more peculiarly vulnerable to ground-shaking episodes than almost anywhere else." But the disaster there can't be viewed in isolation. When one side of a tectonic plate shifts, "the Earth becomes like a great brass bell, which when struck by an enormous hammer blow on one side sets to vibrating and ringing from all over." This can trigger catastrophe on faraway edges of the same great plate, which could be bad news for California. Here, an excerpt:

There was a horrifically destructive Pacific earthquake in New Zealand on Feb. 22, and an even more violent magnitude-8.8 event in Chile almost exactly a year before. All three phenomena involved more or less the same family of circum-Pacific fault lines and plate boundaries.... Now there have been catastrophic events at three corners of the Pacific Plate ? one in the Northwest, on Friday; one in the Southwest, last month; one in the Southeast, last year.

That leaves just one corner unaffected ? the Northeast. And the fault line in the northeast of the Pacific Plate is the San Andreas Fault, underpinning the city of San Francisco. ...

All know that the San Andreas Fault is due to rupture one day ? it last did so in 1906, and strains have built beneath it to a barely tolerable level. To rupture again, with unimaginable consequences for the millions who live above it, some triggering event has to occur. Now three events have occurred that might all be regarded as triggering events. There are in consequence a lot of thoughtful people in the American West who are very nervous indeed ? wondering, as they often must do, whether the consent that permits them to inhabit so pleasant a place might be about to be withdrawn, sooner than they have supposed.
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:46 PM  
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Just in case

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http://www.amazon.com/Crank-Radio-with-3-WAY-Power/dp/tech-data/B0014JLA2S/ref=de_a_smtd
For $26 including shipping I'll feel more prepared.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:13 PM  
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Dozens of Reactors in Quake Zones

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703512404576208872161503008.html
Quote:
Dozens of nuclear reactors operate in earthquake-prone regions around the world, including at least 14 in high-hazard areas, a Wall Street Journal analysis shows.

Most of those plants are in just two places: Japan and Taiwan, both islands with limited natural resources that have chosen the risks of nuclear calamity over complete dependence on foreign sources of energy.

According to the analysis, 48 of the world's operating nuclear reactors, or 11%, are in areas known to have at least moderate earthquake activity. These include the Fukushima Daiichi reactors at the center of Japan's nuclear crisis. Fourteen, or 3%, are in areas of high activity. Ten of those are located within a mile of a coastline, making them at risk for both earthquakes and tsunamis.

Japan and Taiwan together account for 10 of the 14 high-activity reactors. But the U.S. has two reactors in such areas and Slovenia and Armenia has one each. Armenia has another planned.

The nuclear industry says reactors world-wide are built to withstand the most powerful quakes thought possible at each location, plus usually an added safety factor in case those projections are wrong. The Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan apparently survived last week's powerful earthquake intact, only to fall victim to the aftermath.

"There are large margins of safety factored into our plants," said Tom Kauffman, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, a U.S. trade group.

Late Friday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an information notice that represents its first official attempt to explain the event at Fukushima Daiichi to operators of the 104 commercial reactors licensed in the U.S.

The notice also included a recitation of steps American regulators have taken, over the years, to make sure that reactors are prepared for natural disasters or other extraordinary events?a section intended to reassure the public that U.S. regulators and industry are prepared. Preparation includes the development, the NRC said, for restoring cooling water to reactor vessels and spent fuel pools, both of which have suffered failures in Japan.

Of the more than 100 nuclear reactors in the U.S., only the two at Diablo Canyon Power Plant on the central California coast, are in a high-activity area. The Humboldt Bay plant on California's northern coast, was shut down in 1976 because of earthquake fears but still holds some spent nuclear fuel on the site.
Quote:
Kory Raftery, a spokesman for Diablo Canyon operator Pacific Gas & Electric Co., said the plant is designed to withstand a 7.5-magnitude quake from the nearby San Andreas fault. Several other less well-known faults run even closer to the plant, including one less than a mile away that was discovered in 2008, but the reactors have been tested to withstand projected quakes from those as well.

But scientists sometimes have underestimated how powerful quakes can be. The temblor that struck Japan was more than 10 times bigger than the Daiichi plant had been tested to withstand. In 2007, the world's biggest nuclear plant, Japan's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, was damaged after it was hit by a quake far stronger than its designers anticipated.

Antinuclear activists in Japan have long warned that the country's reactors are more vulnerable to earthquakes than operators and government regulators acknowledge.

"A nuclear disaster which the promoters of nuclear power in Japan said wouldn't happen is in progress," said the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, an antinuclear group based in Tokyo, in a statement this week.

Nuclear power has also been controversial in Taiwan, where all four of the island's existing reactors are built near major fault lines. Two more reactors are under construction near the densely populated cities of Taipei and New Taipei.

The Atomic Energy Council, Taiwan's nuclear regulator, said all its plants are built to withstand earthquakes of magnitude 7 or above and tsunamis of 12 to 15 meters. Both the regulator and government-owned nuclear operator Taiwan Power Company have pledged to take quick steps to increase safety margins if necessary.
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Old 03-19-2011, 03:58 AM  
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I received this in an e-mail and you won't want to miss seeing these photos........
Here is a remarkable set of “before” and “after” photographs of damaged areas in Japan.
What is so startling is the quality of photographs, the ability to make exact comparisons,
and the timeliness of the photos. Nature is a ‘harsh’ taskmaster and plays no favorites.



Run your mouse pointer over the satellite photos to view the devastation:

Japan Earthquake: before and after (Part 1)

ABC News - Japan Earthquake: before and after


Japan Earthquake: before and after (Part 2)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/japan-quake-2011/beforeafter2.htm
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