Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:02 pm
http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/03/12/japan-earthquake-live-blog-death-toll-rises-amid-widespread-destruction/

[5:48 p.m. ET, 7:48 a.m. Tokyo] A meltdown may be under way at one of Fukushima Daiichi's nuclear power reactors, an official with Japan's nuclear and industrial safety agency told CNN Sunday.

A meltdown is a catastrophic failure of the reactor core, with a potential for widespread radiation release. However, Toshiro Bannai, director of the agency's international affairs office, expressed confidence that efforts to control the crisis would prove successful.

Meanwhile, a second reactor at the same facility failed shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday, the Tokyo Electric Power Company said, according to TV Asahi. The power company said it was having difficulty cooling the reactor and may need to release radioactive steam in order to relieve pressure.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:04 pm
@Butrflynet,
Japanese ambassador to US is on the air denying this, saying there is no evidence of it.
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:12 pm
@Butrflynet,
The BBC reported the story about the 2nd reactor a few minutes ago.
As I understand it, one of the ways -perhaps the only way- to cool the cores is to pump in seawater. That would be a death-knell for the plant as the salt would damage the pipes. And what to do with the potentially contaminated water is another issue.
I am just bm this. Good coverage, BNet et al
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:13 pm
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/japan-quake-tepco-radiation-idUSLHE7EB02J20110312

TEPCO: preparing to release radiation from second reactor
5:50pm EST

TOKYO, March 13 (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co has begun preparation to release radioactive steam from a second reactor at its quake-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, a spokesman said on Sunday.

The TEPCO spokesman said preparation work for the release began at 7:30 a.m. (2230 GMT).

An official from Japan's nuclear safety watchdog said earlier on Sunday that it had received a report from Japan's largest power producer at 5:10 a.m. that the facility's No. 3 reactor had completely lost its emergency cooling function.

The TEPCO spokesman said the amount of radiation to be released would be small and not of a level that would affect human health.

The No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan had released radiation on Saturday, after a powerful earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan the day before left it with a crippled cooling system and the operator was forced to release pressure that had built up in the reactor. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Risa Maeda; Editing by Ed Klamann)
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:31 pm
I've included the links from the blog which are direct links to the sources in the article.


http://blogs.forbes.com/christopherhelman/2011/03/12/reports-claim-meltdown-at-japanese-reactor/

Reports Claim Meltdown At Japanese Reactor
Mar. 12 2011 - 5:27 pm | 0 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments
By CHRISTOPHER HELMAN

Japan’s Nikkei.com is reporting that the explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 reactor was due to a meltdown of nuclear fuel rods in its insufficiently cooled core. This was consistent with reports of radioactive cesium and iodine outside the plant. As well as the suggestion that it was a build up of hydrogen gas inside the reactor that led to the explosion earlier in the day. (You can see video of that explosion here.)
Others think the declaration of meltdown is premature. Regardless, this is a very bad nuclear accident. Far worse that Three Mile Island, but not yet in the Chernobyl league.

In a statement this afternoon, former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Peter Bradford said, “An early tipoff that Japanese authorities felt that events at Fukushima were very serious was the ordering of an evacuation within a couple of hours of the earthquake. Though the area was small and the evacuation was called ‘precautionary,’ the fact is that ordering several thousand more people into motion during the immediate aftermath of a major earthquake and tsunami is something that no government would do if it could possibly help it.”

Despite alarmist reports, it’s unlikely that the disaster will reach the level of Chernobyl because the Fukushima reactor has a steel containment structure surrounding the nuclear fuel, and it appears that at least for now the engineers will be able to cool the fuel by pumping seawater into the reactor.

The American Nuclear Society blog has a page here with links to update sites operated by Tokyo Electric Power, the Nuclear Energy Institue and others.

World Nuclear News reports that only three of the six Fukushima reactors were in operation when the earthquake hit.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has said it plans to vent gas from the containment structures–reducing dangerous pressures, but releasing radiation into the air.

This could prevent a worse disaster, but is still highly dangerous, even if winds blow most of the radioactive material out to sea. In an email statement this afternoon, Ira Helfand, member of Physicians for Social Responsibility writes that, “After one year of operation, a commercial nuclear reactor contains 1000 times as much radioactivity as was released by the Hiroshima bomb. From a public health perspective, the most important isotopes are short-lived isotopes of iodine (like Iodine-131), Cesium-137, Strontium-90, and possibly Plutonium-239. Radioactive iodine caused thousands of cases of thyroid cancer in children after the Chernobyl accident. Cesium and strontium cause a number of different kinds of cancer and remain dangerous for hundreds of years; plutonium causes lung cancer as well as other types of cancer and remains deadly for hundreds of thousands of years.”

The anti-nuclear Nuclear Information & Resource Services states that the type of reactor used at Fukushima has been known for years to have containment weaknesses.

With this situation still in flux, it’s hard to think too far ahead right now. But it’s absolutely clear that the loss of so much nuclear power generation across Japan will result in a big uptick in demand for liquified natural gas imports.

Rebuilding reactors could be a boon for the likes of General Electric (which designed the Fukushima reactor) as well as French nuclear giant Areva. This should also be an opportunity for [url=third-generation AP1000 reactor ]Westinghouse[/url], which has designed the third-generation AP1000 reactor to shut down safely even in the event of complete loss of electric power.

Other stuff:
Here’s some interesting news video of the Fukushima site before and after the explosion.
– And about 30 seconds into this video are incredible images of what appears to be the Chiba petrochemical refinery and storage complex on fire.
– And here’s the most incredible video I’ve found of the tsunami rushing into Sendai, taken from a helicopter.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:35 pm
@Butrflynet,
http://www.iaea.org/press/?p=1160

Japan Earthquake Update (12 March 2011 2110 CET)

12 March 2011

Announcements, Featured

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that the explosion at Unit 1 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant occurred outside the primary containment vessel (PCV), not inside. The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has confirmed that the integrity of the primary containment vessel remains intact.

As a countermeasure to limit damage to the reactor core, TEPCO proposed that sea water mixed with boron be injected into the primary containment vessel. This measure was approved by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the injection procedure began at 20:20 local Japan time.

Japan has reported that four workers at Fukushima Daiichi were injured by the explosion.

NISA have confirmed the presence of caesium-137 and iodine-131 in the vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1. NISA reported an initial increase in levels of radioactivity around the plant earlier today, but these levels have been observed to lessen in recent hours.

Containment remains intact at Fukushima Daiichi Units 1, 2 and 3.

Evacuations around both affected nuclear plants have begun. In the 20-kilometre radius around Fukushima Daiichi an estimated 110000 people have been evacuated. In the 10-kilometre radius around Fukushima Daini an estimated 30000 people have been evacuated. Full evacuation measures have not been completed.

The Japanese authorities have classified the event at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 as a level 4 ‘Accident with Local Consequences’ on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). The INES scale is used to promptly and consistently communicate to the public the safety significance of events associated with sources of radiation. The scale runs from 0 (deviation) to 7 (major accident).

Japan has also confirmed the safety of all its nuclear research reactors.

The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:37 pm
@Butrflynet,
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11031301-e.html


Press Release (Mar 13,2011)
Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 2am March 13th)


All 6 units of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have been shut down.

Unit 1(Shut down)
- Reactor has been shut down. However, the unit is under inspection due to
the explosive sound and white smoke that was confirmed after the big
quake occurred at 3:36PM.
- We have been injecting sea water and boric acid which absorbs neutron
into the reactor core.

Unit 2(Shut down)
- Reactor and Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System have been shut down.
Current reactor water level is lower than normal level, but the water
level is steady. After fully securing safety, we are preparing to
implement a measure to reduce the pressure of the reactor containment
vessels under the instruction of the national government.

Unit 3(Shut down)
- Reactor has been shut down and we continue injecting water by High
Pressure Core Injection System. After fully securing safety, we are
preparing to implement a measure to reduce the pressure of the reactor
containment vessels under the instruction of the national government.
- Currently, we do not believe there is any reactor coolant leakage
inside the reactor containment vessel.

Unit 4 (shut down due to regular inspection)
- Reactor has been shut down and sufficient level of reactor coolant to
ensure safety is maintained.
- Currently, we do not believe there is any reactor coolant leakage inside
the reactor containment vessel.

Unit 5 (outage due to regular inspection)
- Reactor has been shut down and sufficient level of reactor coolant to
ensure safety is maintained.
- Currently, we do not believe there is any reactor coolant leakage inside
the reactor containment vessel.

Unit 6 (outage due to regular inspection)
- Reactor has been shut down and sufficient level of reactor coolant to
ensure safety is maintained.
- Currently, we do not believe there is any reactor coolant leakage
inside the reactor containment vessel.

Casualty
- 2 workers of cooperative firm were injured at the occurrence of the
earthquake, and were transported to the hospital.
- 1 TEPCO employee who was not able to stand by his own with his hand
holding left chest was transported to the hospital by an ambulance.
- 1 subcontract worker at important earthquake-proof building was
unconscious and transported to the hospital by an ambulance.
- The radiation exposure of 1 TEPCO employee, who was working inside the
reactor building, exceeded 100mSv and was transported to the hospital.
- 4 workers were injured and transported to the hospital after explosive
sound and white smoke were confirmed around the Unit 1.
- Presence of 2 TEPCO employees at the site are not confirmed

Others
- We measured radioactive materials inside of the nuclear power station
area (outdoor) by monitoring car and confirmed that radioactive
materials level is higher than ordinary level. Also, the level at
monitoring post is higher than ordinary level. We will continue to
monitor in detail the possibility of radioactive material being
discharged from exhaust stack or discharge canal. The national
government has instructed evacuation for those local residents within
20km radius of the periphery because it's possible that radioactive
materials are discharged.

- We will continue to take all measures to restore the security of
the site and to monitor the environment of the site periphery.

0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:40 pm
I'll let you click on this link since there are several diagrams and images that go with the report from the World Nuclear News:

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Battle_to_stabilise_earthquake_reactors_1203111.html

0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 05:45 pm
http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/japan.quake.nuclear.failure/?hpt=T1

Official: 'We see the possibility of a meltdown'

Tokyo (CNN) -- A meltdown may be under way at one of Fukushima Daiichi's nuclear power reactors in northern Japan, an official with Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency told CNN Sunday.

"There is a possibility, we see the possibility of a meltdown," said Toshihiro Bannai, director of the agency's international affairs office, in a telephone interview from the agency's headquarters in Tokyo. "At this point, we have still not confirmed that there is an actual meltdown, but there is a possibility."

Though he said engineers have been unable to get close enough to the core to know what's going on, he based his conclusion on the fact that they measured radioactive cesium and radioactive iodine in the air Saturday night.

"What we have seen is only the slight indication from a monitoring post of cesium and iodine," he said. Since then, he said, plant officials have injected sea water and boron into the plant in an effort to cool its nuclear fuel.

We have some confidence, to some extent, to make the situation to be stable status," he said. "We actually have very good confidence that we will resolve this."

A state of emergency has been declared for it and two of the other five reactors at the same complex, he said. Three are in a safe, shut-down state, he said. "The other two still have some cooling systems, but not enough capacity."
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 07:32 pm
@Butrflynet,
Quote:
Despite alarmist reports, it’s unlikely that the disaster will reach the level of Chernobyl because the Fukushima reactor has a steel containment structure surrounding the nuclear fuel, and it appears that at least for now the engineers will be able to cool the fuel by pumping seawater into the reactor.


Yes. It is extremely unlikely that containment will be breached in any of the reactors, even if they have a full meltdown.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 09:17 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/12/japan-quake-tepco-radiation-idUSLHE7EB02J20110312

TEPCO: preparing to release radiation from second reactor
5:50pm EST

TOKYO, March 13 (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co has begun preparation to release radioactive steam from a second reactor at its quake-struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility, a spokesman said on Sunday.



"TOKYO - Japan's top government spokesman says a partial meltdown is likely under way at second reactor affected by Friday's massive earthquake."

http://www.cnbc.com/id/42054272
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 09:33 pm
http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/japan.quake/index.html

Japanese authorities rush to save lives, avert nuclear crisis
By the CNN Wire Staff
March 12, 2011 10:08 p.m. EST

Shirakawa, Japan (CNN) -- Japanese authorities are operating on the presumption that possible meltdowns are under way at two nuclear reactors, a government official said Sunday, adding that there have been no indications yet of hazardous emissions of radioactive material into the atmosphere.

The attempts to avert a possible nuclear crisis, centered around the Fukushima Daiichi facility in northeast Japan, came as rescuers frantically scrambled to find survivors following the country's strongest-ever earthquake and a devastating tsunami that, minutes later, brought crushing walls of water that wiped out nearly everything in their paths.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters there is a "possibility" of a meltdown at the plant's No. 1 reactor, adding, "It is inside the reactor. We can't see." He then added that authorities are also "assuming the possibility of a meltdown" at the facility's No. 3 reactor.

A meltdown is a catastrophic failure of the reactor core, with a potential for widespread radiation release.


Japan resident describes nuke evacuation

The efforts to control the temperature of atomic material, by pumping in sea water and boron, are taking place at the same facility where four were hurt late Saturday in an explosion. Edano said only a "minor level" of radiation has been released into the environment -- saying it all came from a controlled release of radioactive steam, insisting there have been no leaks.

"We do not believe it is harmful to human health," he said.

About 180,000 people are being evacuated from within 10 to 20 kilometers (6 to 12 miles) of the Daiichi plant -- which is in addition to the thousands that have already been taken away who live closer by. More than 30,000 more people were being evacuated from their homes within 10 kilometers of the Fukushima Daiini nuclear facility located in the same prefecture.

The news of the possible meltdowns came as rescue efforts resumed Sunday morning in areas devastated by the 8.9-magnitude quake and subsequent tsunami, which unleashed a wall of seawater that decimated entire neighborhoods.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 09:36 pm
http://www.iaea.org/press/?p=1164

Japan Earthquake Update (13 March 2011, 0235 CET)

13 March 2011

Announcements, Featured

Japanese authorities have informed the IAEA that Units 1, 2, and 4 at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant retain off-site power but are experiencing increased pressure in each reactor. Plant operators have vented the containment at each of the three units and are considering further venting to alleviate the increase in pressure.

Daini Unit 3 is in a safe, cold shutdown, according to Japanese officials.

Japanese authorities have reported some casualties to nuclear plant workers. At Fukushima Daichi, four workers were injured by the explosion at the Unit 1 reactor, and there are three other reported injuries in other incidents. In addition, one worker was exposed to higher-than-normal radiation levels that fall below the IAEA guidance for emergency situations. At Fukushima Daini, one worker has died in a crane operation accident and four others have been injured.

In partnership with the World Meteorological Organization, the IAEA is providing its member states with weather forecasts for the affected areas in Japan. The latest predictions have indicated winds moving to the Northeast, away from Japanese coast over the next three days.

The IAEA continues to liaise with the Japanese authorities and is monitoring the situation as it evolves.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 09:42 pm
http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11031304-e.html


Press Release (Mar 13,2011)
Impact to TEPCO's Facilities due to Miyagiken-Oki Earthquake (as of 8AM)


Below is major impact to TEPCO's facilities due to the Miyagiken-Oki
Earthquake that occurred yesterday at 2:46PM.
*new items are underlined

[Nuclear Power Station]
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station:
Units 1 to 3: shutdown due to earthquake
Units 4 to 6: outage due to regular inspection
* The national government has instructed evacuation for those local
residents within 20km radius of the site periphery.

* The value of radioactive material (iodine, etc) is increasing according
to the monitoring car at the site (outside of the site). One of the
monitoring posts is also indicating higher than normal level.

* Since the amount of radiation at the boundary of the site exceeds the
limits, we decide at 4:17PM, Mar 12 and we have reported and/or noticed
the government agencies concerned to apply the clause 1 of the Article 15
of the Radiation Disaster Measure at 5PM, Mar 12.

* In addition, a vertical earthquake hit the site and big explosion has
happened near the Unit 1 and smoke breaks out around 3:36PM, Mar 12th.
* We started injection of sea water into the reactor core of Unit 1 at
8:20PM, Mar 12 and then boric acid subsequently.

* High Pressure Coolant Injection System of Unit 3 automatically stopped.
We endeavored to restart the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System but
failed. Also, we could not confirm the water inflow of Emergency Core
Cooling System. As such, we decided at 5.10AM, Mar 12, and we reported
and/or noticed the government agencies concerned to apply the clause 1 of
the Article 15 of the Radiation Disaster Measure at 5:58AM, Mar 13.
In order to fully secure safety, we operated the vent valve to reduce the
pressure of the reactor containment vessels (partial release of air
containing radioactive materials) and completed the procedure at 8:41AM,
Mar 13,

* We continue endeavoring to secure the safety that all we can do and
monitoring the periphery.

Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station:
Units 1 to 4: shutdown due to earthquake
* The national government has instructed evacuation for those local
residents within 10km radius of the periphery.
* At present, we have decided to prepare implementing measures to reduce
the pressure of the reactor containment vessel (partial discharge of air
containing radioactive materials) in order to fully secure safety.
These measures are considered to be implemented in Units 1, 2 and 3 and
accordingly, we have reported and/or noticed the government agencies
concerned.
* Unit 3 has been stopped and being "nuclear reactor cooling hot stop" at
12:15PM.
* The operator trapped in the crane operating console of the exhaust stack
was transferred to the ground at 5:13PM and confirmed the death at 5:17PM.


Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Station:
Units 1, 5, 6, 7: normal operation
Units 2 to 4: outage due to regular inspection


[Thermal Power Station]
Hirono Thermal Power Station Units 2 and 4: shutdown due to earthquake
Hitachinaka Thermal Power Station Unit 1: shutdown due to earthquake
Kashima Thermal Power Station Units 2, 3, 5, 6: shutdown due to earthquake
Ohi Thermal Power Station Units 2, 3: shutdown due to earthquake
Higashi-Ohgishima Thermal Power Station Unit 1: shutdown due to earthquake

[Hydro Power Station]
* All the stations have been restored.

[Transmission System, etc.]
4 substations shown below have been shutdown:
- Naka Substation
- Shin Motegi Substation
- Joban Substation
- Ibaraki Substation
- Nishi Mito Substation

[Blackout in TEPCO's Service Area]
Total of about 0.31 million households are out of power.
Tokyo: 0
Kanagawa Pref.: 0
Tochigi Pref.: 7,221
Chiba Pref.: 301
Saitama Pref: 0
Gunma Pref.: 0
Ibaraki Pref: 298,977
Yamanashi Pref: 0
Shizuoka Pref: 0 (east of Fuji River)

[Supply and Demand Status within TEPCO's Service Area to Secure Stable
Power Supply]
Backup supply from Shinshinano Conversion Station: 600MW
Backup supply from Sakuma Conversion Station: 300MW
Backup supply from Higashi Shimizu Conversion Station: 100MW

Because TEPCO's facilities have been seriously damaged, power shortage
may occur. TEPCO appreciates customers' cooperation in reducing electricity
usage by avoiding using unnecessary lighting and electrical equipment.

We are taking all measures to restore power, however, we expect extremely
difficult situation in power supply for tomorrow as well.
We kindly ask our customers to cooperate with us in reducing usage of power.

Please do NOT touch cut-off electric wires.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 09:46 pm
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/

(Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

updated at 1:28 UTC, Mar. 13


Nuclear accident rated at level 4

The Japanese government rates the accident at the Fukushima Number One nuclear power plant at level 4 on an international scale of 0 to 7.

Two radioactive substances, cesium and radioactive iodine, were detected near the Number One reactor at the plant on Saturday. Their presence indicates nuclear fission of uranium.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said that fuel in the reactor partially melted. It's the first such accident in Japan.

A level 4 on the International Nuclear and Radiologocal Event Scale includes damage to fuel and release of significant quantities of radioactive material within an installation.
It's the same level as a criticality accident at a nuclear fuel processing plant in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture, south of Fukushima, in 1999.

The agency called the accident very regrettable even though it was triggered by an earthquake.

Sunday, March 13, 2011 07:08 +0900 (JST)
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 09:50 pm
Japan Broadcasting Company is streaming an English version of their broadcasts here:

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/

0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 11:18 pm
The video I saw on TV a few minutes ago looks like ships in the harbor spraying water onto the facility. The potentially contaminated water would seem to be flowing back into the harbor.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 11:23 pm
Wow...

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-sci-japan-quake-science-20110313,0,5782113.story?track=rss

Japan earthquake shifted Earth on its axis

Scientists in Pasadena say data from the temblor will show how Earth is deformed during massive earthquakes at sites where one plate is sliding under the other, including the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Friday's magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan shifted Earth on its axis and shortened the length of a day by a hair. In the future, scientists said, it will provide an unusually precise view of how Earth is deformed during massive earthquakes at sites where one plate is sliding under another, including the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

The unusually rich detail comes from an extensive network of sensors that were placed at sites across Japan after that country's Kobe earthquake of 1995, a magnitude 6.8 quake that killed more than 6,000 people because its epicenter was near a major city.

"The Japanese have the best seismic information in the world," said Lucy Jones, chief scientist for the Multi-Hazards project at the U.S. Geological Survey, at a Saturday news conference at Caltech in Pasadena. "This is overwhelmingly the best-recorded great earthquake ever."

Already, just over 36 hours after the quake, data-crunchers had determined that the temblor's force moved parts of eastern Japan as much as 12 feet closer to North America, scientists said — and that Japan has shifted downward about two feet.

Jones said that USGS had determined that the entire earthquake sequence — including associated foreshocks and aftershocks — had so far included 200 temblors of magnitude 5 or larger, 20 of which occurred before the big quake hit. She said the aftershocks were continuing at a rapid pace and decreasing in frequency although not in magnitude, all of which is to be expected.

Caltech geophysicist Mark Simons said that knowing how much the land had shifted during the quake and its aftershocks would help scientists understand future hazards in the region and allow them to plan accordingly.

A colleague of his, Caltech seismological engineer Tom Heaton, said the tragedy would provide unprecedented information about how buildings hold up under long periods of shaking — and thus how to build them better.

"We had very little information about that before now," he said. Though precise numbers are not yet available, he predicted that the data would show that buildings in Japan were subject to a full three minutes of shaking.

Many of the lessons, however, will apply to other parts of the world than California, because the state's fault topography is different than the one involved in the Japanese quake. The earthquake that struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Feb. 22 is probably more analogous to what is likely to occur in California, because it occurred along a fault running very close to an urban area.

The data from the Japanese temblor could help planners and engineers avert potential earthquake disasters around the world, the scientists said — including in the Pacific Northwest, where the Cascadia Subduction Zone extends 600 miles south from British Columbia.

Geological evidence as well as historical records of tsunami deaths in Japan — from giant waves believed, based on modern analysis, to have come from a Cascadia quake — suggest that the most recent large earthquake in the Pacific Northwest occurred in 1700. It was probably larger than Friday's earthquake in Japan.

Another massive quake in the Pacific Northwest is "inevitable," the USGS's Jones said, though it may not occur for hundreds of years.

"They have an opportunity," she said. "This will help the Pacific Northwest understand what they should be ready for. I wouldn't be sleepless in Seattle, but I'd be studious."
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Mar, 2011 11:25 pm
@FBM,
Got a link or info about which network or which video it was?
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Mar, 2011 07:47 am
Japan has upgraded the quake to 9.0 I hear?
Not sure who gets the official call.
That's double the magnitude of an 8.9, right?
 

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