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Two Years Later: Lessons from Japan's Tohoku Earthquake

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posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 03:18 PM
Two Years Later: Lessons from Japan's Tohoku Earthquake
Becky Oskin, OurAmazingPlanet Staff Writer
Date: 10 March 2013 Time: 03:37 PM ET

A triple disaster — earth, water and nuclear — struck Japan on March 11, 2011, when the biggest earthquake in its history ripped the seafloor. The magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami shattered lives. The destruction surprised the world, because few expected a quake or tsunami of that size even in seismically active Japan. Some 300,000 people are still homeless, living in residential camps, according to the Japanese government. Two years later, geologists still puzzle over Tohoku. During the earthquake, the giant offshore fault that ruptured behaved differently near the surface than it did deep below the Earth's crust.

This was unexpected, and now, scientists think, it could happen elsewhere. No subduction zone is safe from a megaquake.

"We can't assume anymore that there's a subduction zone that can't produce these very large subduction-zone earthquakes and tsunamis," said Jeanne Hardebeck, a seismologist at the U. S. Geological Survey's Menlo Park, Calif., office.

posted on Mar, 10 2013 @ 04:22 PM
reply to post by MariaLida

This below is good to know.

Now geologists believe they need to look further into the past, thousands of years, to capture a fault's true history.

I like geologists that keep it real and seek further learning, especially in this instance.

The instrumental data and observations are about 120 years old, but the history of plate tectonics is over 4 billion years old," said Fumiko Tajima, a seismologist at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. "Using the seismic catalog to predict an earthquake is like using the data for one second [of Earth's history]. The statistics are not sufficient at all."

They aren't sufficient and we can do better, this is for sure. I am glad they are striving to make this field better in predicting.

We now realize that things are much more variable in space and time than we would like to believe," Stein told OurAmazingPlanet. "That in turn creates a deep uncertainty in our ability to forecast the future."

Again, this above is such a real and down to earth statement... a humble one at that.

For geoscientists, Tohoku was a reminder of the complexities of nature, Stein, of Northwestern University said. "It's really starting to sink in that the world is much more complicated than we would have liked to believe."

It is much more complicated and I hope and pray California does not go through the same as Japan did two years ago. Surely they are striving quickly to prevent whatever they can before its too late. I am not so sure its possible today... not yet, anyway.

Even an early warning system would probably not give a city much time to move to higher ground. A few minutes is definitely not enough time. We need hours, if not days and there seems to be no hope in sight just yet for this type of early warning system.

posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 03:12 AM
Perhaps they have learned to not build nuclear reactors on known active fault lines, especially on the ocean shore (I know nuclear plants need a body of water nearby for coolant, but it doesn't have to be the ocean.)

What about current steps being taken to properly decommission the broken reactors? Does Japan plan on relocating any other vulnerable nuclear plants so this same situation does not happen again?

I suppose people "learn" things all the time. It takes some wisdom to apply that knowledge though.

Thanks for the thread, OP, Fukushima was a known mistake before it was built.

posted on Mar, 11 2013 @ 05:18 AM
2 years later, and I'm still with my heart in my throat watching the videos from it. This video I've watched many times, and still can't fathom the power, and subsequent destruction, the Tohoku 'quake generated.

I'm glad they've come to realize that the subduction zones are capable of unleashing utter hell, but the country is still scarred, and hundreds of thousands still homeless. And the enormous loss of life, I'm shocked there's not a PTSD epidemic from it.

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