Great Japan quake generates 8-foot tsunami in California

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 11:00 PM GMT on March 11, 2011

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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Quoting JohnTucker:
There is no applicable fallout now, there is not likely to be unless the cores are exposed to the atmosphere, and japan is HUGE.

Our troops can handle a fallout situation anyway. Japan will be able to deal with it much better with us there. It certainly isn't the first time.
? It's a little smaller than California by sq miles. Huge? Not quite China or Russia huge. Maybe not-tiny would be a better size description?
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been away all day and after reading backwards, things seem to be falling apart by the second in Japan and the Nukes.....not a good thing at all!
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Link
Member Since: January 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
Quoting PcolaDan:


What kind of activity?


Earthquake activity. I always feel uneasy about activity after a big quake in another part of the world.
Member Since: January 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
Quoting SquallyWx:
Has anyone noticed the activity in the Gulf of California and in California itself?

Earthquake activity?

What type of activity are you talking about?
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Quoting SquallyWx:
Has anyone noticed the activity in the Gulf of California and in California itself?


What kind of activity?
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Has anyone noticed the activity in the Gulf of California and in California itself?
Member Since: January 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
Quoting srada:


Yes, ABC is reporting that a partial meltdown is underway so I wouldnt think sending 50,000 of our military personnel over there right now would be the wisest decision especially if and I stress IF this meltdown is the worst case scenario and it affects the US..


I am not very educated in this area, but hopefully they are not being put in harms way.
Member Since: January 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
927. srada
Quoting SquallyWx:


I was wondering the same thing. We should not be exposing our troops to radioactivity!


Yes, ABC is reporting that a partial meltdown is underway so I wouldnt think sending 50,000 of our military personnel over there right now would be the wisest decision especially if and I stress IF this meltdown is the worst case scenario and it affects the US..
Member Since: August 17, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 775
Stepping off into what I know very little about...

The "radiation" in this scenario is gamma ray wavelength, is it not?

It behaves just as our usual subject matter of UV, visible, or IR.

So, I wonder if the gamma ray satellites are sensitive enough at the right frequencies to detect the same from earth and/or atmospheric aerosols, rather than from the cosmos. And if there isn't too much background radiation to actually track a thick enough plume from Japan. Of course, they would have to have the ability to turn around and look nadir.

Satellites such as this one: http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/

Seems like a very long shot, but...
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Quoting srada:
it seems this meltdown may appear to be happening, if so then why are we sending 50,000 troops?

Link


I was wondering the same thing. We should not be exposing our troops to radioactivity!
Member Since: January 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
from BBC

Problems for second Japan reactor

A second nuclear reactor is experiencing serious problems at Japan's earthquake-damaged Fukushima power station in northern Japan, which was hit by a big explosion on Saturday.

The plant's operator says pressure is rising inside reactor No. 3 after it lost its emergency cooling system.

A similar problem led to a blast at the plant's No. 1 reactor on Saturday.

An estimated 170,000 people have been evacuated from the area around the plant, the UN nuclear watchdog says.
Member Since: August 22, 2008 Posts: 12 Comments: 6010
Quoting Xyrus2000:


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.


A very good explanation. Thanks.
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922. srada
it seems this meltdown may appear to be happening, if so then why are we sending 50,000 troops?

Link
Member Since: August 17, 2006 Posts: 1 Comments: 775
God the hysteria surrounding this event is ridiculous.

I don't know what to say about nuclear power. But I can't say I approve of filling our planet with more of those plants.
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CNN is saying there MAY be a meltdown occurring in 1 or 2 reactors.
Member Since: January 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
Quoting sunlinepr:



Very informative link... Excellent


can you repost that link I cant find it
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918. N3EG
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:
Bill Nye, the science guy, is now talking about a report that they are adding boron to the core? I missed his explanation why they would be doing this but he thought it was a drastic measure.

CNN


I just read that boron is used as a "control" in nuclear reactors.

It's been a long time since high school chemistry for me...this is making me feel old.
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917. mbjjm
Japan's Met agency has upgrade Friday's earthquake from magnitude 8.9 to 9.0
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I just heard that they are pumping sea water into the core of the reactor. I would reason this to be a last ditch effort for it will certainly mean the end of the reactor from  being put back into service.

Bill Nye, the science guy, is now talking about a report that they are adding boron to the core? I missed his explanation why they would be doing this but he thought it was a drastic measure.

CNN
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Quoting Patrap:

West Coast USA Danger IF Japan Nuclear Reactor Meltdown.....





Very informative link... Excellent
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Breaking News Alert: Partial meltdown likely under way, AP reports
March 12, 2011 10:16:08 PM

Japan’s top government spokesman says a partial meltdown is likely under way at a damaged nuclear reactor, the AP reports.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15274
The Ukraine government is trying to turn Chernobyl into a tourist destination
Link
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0315: In its latest update , Tepco clarifies the problem with Reactor 3: "High Pressure Coolant Injection System of Unit 3 automatically stopped. We endeavoured to restart the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System but failed."

Gotta love to hear the world "failed" when talking about radiation containment attempts...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 15274

Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
"We are assuming that a meltdown has occurred" at a nuclear power reactor, Japan's chief Cabinet secretary says.

FROM CNN

I had heard something similar to this, except they were saying one of the reactors was "in danger of a meltdown". Some of the "experts" were questioning if a meltdown was not already in the process.


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Quoting beell:


And stay out of the rain.


Truly.

Here's a story I read today. From the 1950s, about a thunderstorm in NY after an above-ground nuclear test in NV. The Troy Incident
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Summary of Chernobyl Fallout health effects; If a meltdown occurs, Japan will most probably suffer from these effects.
USA is quite far, and I would say Only an expert should be the one comenting on the effects.

Link

* Stillbirths, miscarriages, infant mortality, general mortality, cancer mortality, sudden deaths.
* Thyroid cancer.
* The 40 % increase in all malignancies between 1990 and 2000 correlates with radioactive fallout levels.
* Psychological diseases correlate with levels of radioactive pollution.
* In adults there is growing evidence of a syndrome marked by deteriorating memory and motor skills, occurrence of convulsions, and pulsing headaches.
* In the Chernobyl territories cataracts have become a common disease.
* Urogenital illnesses correlate with levels of radioactive pollution, and include interruption of pregnancy,
* Diseases of the cardio-vascular system and blood are one of the most common consequences
* There is much evidence correlating fallout levels with endocrine/hormone diseases, e.g. incidence rate for Type 1 diabetes mellitus in Belarus. S
* In some of the Chernobyl-polluted territories immune systems are compromised,
* In the radioactively polluted territories the typical consequence of infringement of the immune system appears as an immuno-deficiency.
* There is accelerated ageing among the people in radioactively polluted territories in the Ukraine:
* The array of diseases commonly considered exclusive to the elderly is now typical for children in all of the heavily polluted territories.
* There are many studies showing a wide range of chromosomal aberrations in the Chernobyl radioactively polluted areas.
* In the polluted territories, compared with clean ones, there is increasing morbidity by intestinal toxicosis, gastro-enteritis, dysbacteriosis, sepses, respiratory viruses, herpes infections
* There are increases in children%u2019s general morbidity, and increases in rare illnesses in the Chernobyl polluted territories of
* Practically all forms of studied nosology are more prevalent[
* Total child morbidity in Ukraine increased by 2.9 times between 1986 and 2001,
* Respiratory system diseases occurred everywhere in the polluted territories and tend to correlate with levels of radioactive pollution:-
* Cardiovascular system diseases in children occurred more frequently in the polluted territories,
* Dental diseases in children are more frequent in the Chernobyl radioactively polluted territories.
* Congenital malformations. Increased rates of teratogenic effects reported all over Europe,
* The proportion of children with impaired intellectual development is consistently greater in polluted areas. I
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"We are assuming that a meltdown has occurred" at a nuclear power reactor, Japan's chief Cabinet secretary says.

FROM CNN

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from BBC

#0248: For those of you with Google Earth capability, there's a new website with high-definition satellite images of the affected areas.
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905. N3EG
KI (potassium iodide) only works to block radioactive iodine, not cesium.
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904. beell
Quoting Patrap:
Staying indoors and maybe in a Basement would be a wise choice,,or Deep underground away from the Source


And stay out of the rain.
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This Europe area was exposed to Chernobyl
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 22 Comments: 10206
A Top Fuel Rod is 9 ft out the Coolant...?

Dat's a bad way to fly.
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Quoting PcolaDan:
not sure what this implies

0232: The plant operator says the top of the fuel rods is 3 metres above water - AFP, quoting Kyodo


That is a major problem.
Member Since: January 25, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 63
Quoting PcolaDan:
not sure what this implies

0232: The plant operator says the top of the fuel rods is 3 metres above water - AFP, quoting Kyodo


I'll bet you $100,000 it ain't good news...
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Quoting presslord:
as odd as it may seem coming from me...it's a serious question...it's one thing to know where it's going...and another to know what it's gonna do when it gets there...


I think you gotta look at it as a PartialDifferrentialEquation. the answer depends on the variables that get plugged in. Right now seems like these variables are unknown.

The timing of any release. Height it might get to in the atmosphere. Also the amount and substance released would have a great effect on any potential consequences, I would think.
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A must have Link for this event

West Coast USA Danger IF Japan Nuclear Reactor Meltdown


Things to know about Cesium-137, “IF” there is a complete meltdown and release into the environment

(also spelled, Caesium)

Where does cesium-137 come from?
Radioactive cesium-137 is produced when uranium and plutonium absorb neutrons and undergo fission. Examples of the uses of this process are nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons.

What is the half life?
The half-life of cesium-137 is 30 years. Because of the chemical nature of cesium, it moves easily through the environment. This makes the cleanup of cesium-137 difficult.

How do people come in contact with cesium-137?
Walking on contaminated soil could result in external exposure to gamma radiation. People may ingest cesium-137 with food and water, or may inhale it as dust. It is distributed fairly uniformly throughout the body’s soft tissues. Exposure may also be external (that is, exposure to its gamma radiation from outside the body).

How can cesium-137 affect people’s health?
Exposure to radiation from cesium-137 results in increased risk of cancer. If exposures are very high, serious burns, and even death, can result. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says everyone is exposed to minute amounts of cesium-137. The average annual dose in the Northern Hemisphere is less than 1 millirem annually. That falls below the 100 millirem exposure limit the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends.

(information sourced from the U.S. EPA)



Update,
There have been maps circulating around the blogosphere showing the would-be radiation pattern from Japan across the Pacific Ocean. In fact, one map indicates a long 7-day time frame to reach the west coast U.S…

One must use common sense when considering this possibility. It’s all really quite straight forward. Any particles would flow with the wind. Period. All one needs to do is know the wind pattern from the day of release, namely, the Jet stream. Currently the Jet Stream is moving over Japan and streaming across the ocean towards the U.S. (as it pretty much always does). The average speed of the jet is about 100 – 120 knots, or about 110 – 140 mph. Simple math, 4,500 miles divided by 120 mph equals about 37 hours (plus or minus). A day and a half. End of story.

Note, it’s all about the wind pattern. There are weather sites that illustrate this and update regularly. The first image of this post shows the current jet stream as of post time, which will wiggle waggle throughout time.

Also note, “IF” and whatever amount of radiation is released, will disperse rapidly from the site. It’s not like there will be millions of glowing people on the west coast U.S. 36 hours later, but there would certainly be some amount of exposure given the current jet. Not qualified to surmise how much that would be… Those in the immediate vicinity of Fukushima would obviously be tragically affected.

“IF” Fukushima suffers a catastrophic reactor meltdown, given the present state of red alerts there, it would likely happen fairly soon, within 24 hours I would think. They will either get things cooled down now, or it’s going to melt. Having said that, “IF” Fukushima melts down completely, the following image shows the position of the jet stream on March 14 and 15, which would probably be the approximate time frame for whatever radiation to make it across.

It appears then, that central California (San Francisco) to north to the Oregon border would be in the bulls-eye for the most part. Although none of the west really will escape the wind pattern as forecast from WeatherBank. The darker colors indicate the higher jet-stream wind speeds, which one might surmise to bear the greater majority of particles, or at least the first arrival.




There are several suppliers of Potassium Iodide, an over-the-counter drug which itself is a preventative measure that all preppers really should keep in their inventory. Be aware of the FDA Guidelines for Potassium Iodide usage and dosage (generally 130 mg per 24 hours for adults). Here is an example of some low dosage Potassium Iodide tabs, which taken in proper quantity would in turn be an effective Thyroid blocking agent during a radiation emergency.

Update,
from TOKYO (Nikkei), 12-Mar-2011, 2100 UT,
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said Saturday afternoon the explosion at the Fukushima I nuclear plant could only have been caused by a meltdown of the reactor core. Tokyo Electric Power Co. began to flood the damaged reactor with seawater to cool it down, resorting to measures that could rust the reactor and force the utility to scrap it.

Translation: last ditch effort to cool it down… hopefully it works.

Update,
Reuters, 12-Mar-2011, 2115 UT,
A third nuclear reactor is now in trouble and has lost its emergency cooling system. “The emergency cooling system is no longer functioning at the No. 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility.


Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 456 Comments: 144498
not sure what this implies

0232: The plant operator says the top of the fuel rods is 3 metres above water - AFP, quoting Kyodo
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895. N3EG
I've got my dosimeter sitting on the shelf with a new battery in it here in WA. state...
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Quoting AussieStorm:

That Nuclear fall out map is fake and gay.
How fake and gay is it.? Good evening Aussie.
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Quoting presslord:
Are we talkin' dead people? Increased cancer rates? negligible?



I don't know if the effect in the US would be similar due to the distance

Don't know but the Chernobyl Fallout effects were:

Suggested long-range effects

* Down syndrome (trisomy 21). In West Berlin, Germany, prevalence of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) peaked 9 months following the main fallout.[ 11, 12] Between 1980 and 1986, the birth prevalence of Down syndrome was quite stable (i.e., 1.35%u20131.59 per 1,000 live births [27%u201331 cases]). In 1987, 46 cases were diagnosed (prevalence = 2.11 per 1,000 live births). Most of the excess resulted from a cluster of 12 cases among children born in January 1987. The prevalence of Down syndrome in 1988 was 1.77, and in 1989, it reached pre-Chernobyl values. The authors noted that the isolated geographical position of West Berlin prior to reunification, the free genetic counseling, and complete coverage of the population through one central cytogenetic laboratory support completeness of case ascertainment; in addition, constant culture preparation and analysis protocols ensure a high quality of data.
* Chromosomal aberrations........
* Neural tube defects (NTDs) in Turkey..............

And Long Term Effects

Read;

Link
Member Since: August 2, 2010 Posts: 22 Comments: 10206
Staying indoors and maybe in a Basement would be a wise choice,,or Deep underground away from the Source
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 456 Comments: 144498
If it were to make it to the west coast would it be deadly at that point??? or would it be diffused enough not to cause problems??? and if it was deadly could the US evacuate an area of millions of people and leave entire states empty???
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I would hope that if this is a dire situation that the U.S. government would already be sounding the alarm. They are not, so I am assuming the impact will be negligible if any.
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.
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5101 Comments: 118560
as odd as it may seem coming from me...it's a serious question...it's one thing to know where it's going...and another to know what it's gonna do when it gets there...
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One can bake a Potato on yer dashboard maybe..or maybe not.


Containment and a slow release is preferred,but a Loss of containment via a breech,well,,then its a whole new pickle.


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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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