Japan Tsunami

INCREDIBLE PHOTOS FROM ABOVE

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

JAPAN EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI:

500MPH WAVE FASTER THAN A JUMBO JET

READ FULL POST HERE

Japan-Earthquake-and-Tsunami-faster-than-a-jumbo-jet

THE tsunami unleashed by the killer earthquake off Japan raced across the Pacific Ocean at 500mph, the speed of a jumbo jet.

As far away as Chile – 10,000 miles across the Pacific – coastal residents were advised to get to higher ground.

The quake – 8.9 on the Richter scale and the sixth biggest ever recorded – was more powerful than any nuclear weapon.

It caused a huge rupture in the seabed, about 250 miles long, and sent a vast wave storming westwards to batter Japan, another headed south to Indonesia and yet another surged eastwards towards Hawaii and California.

Seismologist Alice Walker of the British Geological Survey said it was 8,000 times more powerful than the quake that killed so many in New Zealand earlier this year.

She said: “The seabed was moved up between two and 10 metres. This triggered the tsunami which travelled at the speed of a jumbo jet, at 500mph.

“This meant you could predict when it was going to reach Hawaii and Vancouver Island.”

Dr Alex Densmore, of the Department of Geography and Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience at Durham University, said: “The total energy release is equivalent to about 6,700 gigatons of TNT or 6.7 million megatons – far greater than any nuclear weapon.”

Japan is especially vulnerable as it sits on the north-west edge of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a 25,000-mile series of faults.

Along this huge fault line some of the most powerful natural events in history happened, including Krakatoa, the Indonesia volcano that erupted in 1883, killing 40,000 and producing the loudest sound ever, heard 3,000 miles away.

The BGS head of seismic hazard, Dr Roger Musson, said: “The cause of this quake is that the Pacific Plate, which is one of the largest of the tectonic plates that makes up the crust of the Earth, is plunging deep underneath Japan.

“It’s being pushed down and it can’t slide down smoothly, so it sticks. It sticks for tens of years and then eventually it breaks and buckles.”

The huge volume of water that is displaced then can create enormous waves going out from the epicentre. But as tsunamis reach shallow water they slow down to about 15mph, said Ms Walker.

“They can either crash in as a wall of water or give an early warning by sucking water from the shore out to sea before pounding the coastline.”

But even at 15mph, the waves are deadly. “It is too fast for you to outrun it,” she warned. “ If you are on the beach when it hits, it will be too late to flee.”

 
 

Speak Your Mind

*