Everyone, a most horrible tragedy has happened in Japan. Not only has one of the largest earthquakes in Japanese history hit Japan, but the resulting tsunamis have wreaked even more havoc on this small island nation. These tsunamis were so huge that they traveled to Hawaii and the western coasts of America (where I live).
I don’t think anyone can understand and relate to how much energy a 8.9 earthquake releases, especially the one that lasted as long as this one. The Richter scale is a logarithmic scale where each whole number is ten times the energy of the previous one. A quake of 5.0 can do quite a lot of damage. Now imagine one 39 times greater than that. This type of quake is so strong that you can see the waves of energy passing through the ground. Things just don’t shake, they get shoved back and forth a great distance. Picture your self trying to stand on the back of a flatbed truck going 30 MPH on very rough and rugged dirt terrain full of dips, pot holes and large rocks, while the driver is randomly turning and weaving, and you’ll get a rough idea of what a 6.0 quake feels like. You couldn’t simulate a 8.9 ride because the truck would be trashed.
The Japanese are quite familiar with earthquakes. In fact, they usually have one twice a week, though they are very minor. They have mastered the technology of building a modern infrastructure on a seismically active island. Even places like California get much of their building codes from Japan. They also have regular tsunami drills to prepare them for coming disasters. They have a sophisticated public warning system and plans for quick evacuation of villages, towns and cities. Even children know what to do. However, nothing could prepare these people for these two monsters. This quake and tsunami were so far beyond the realm of anyone’s expectation.
We are now living in a nation where politicians, bureaucrats and unions are more concerned with greasing their own palms with money they didn’t earn, and a President more concerned with building mosques and having weekly parties at the Whitehouse than consider people that need our help. Thank goodness this nation is full of generous and helpful people that have private charities that will take their donations directly to where it is needed, because, even broke, Americans are the most generous people in the world. Folks, Japan needs our help. Also, our government needs to realize where it’s duties and priorities lie. It is not building mosques, nor giving money to groups that support terrorism. This is the people’s money and right now our friends in Japan need our help.
Now here’s something that may chill Americans to the bone. True, a large earthquake is expected in California in the near future. This is known. What is not known by most Americans is that a major earthquake is overdue on the east coast like New York, Boston and Richmond. The type of quake expected in the east is anticipated to be much worse (in potential damage) than anything expected on the California coast. The reasons are, lack of any significant movement in recent history to relieve the pressure, and the nature of the fault being a subduction fault that has not had any significant movement for a long time, and buildings are not built for earthquakes. On the San Andreas fault in California, the earth moves side by side against each other*. On the faults on the east coast, one land mass moves below the other. When this energy finally gives way, the shaking is mostly vertical bouncing. Now imagine skyscrapers and brick buildings bouncing up and down and not shaking side to side. The east is not even remotely prepared.
This disaster in Japan is only a shadow of the possible one awaiting our east coast. The best thing to do is prepare. In the mean time, we need to put our petty and greedy differences aside (hello unions) and think of what is more important.
For up to the minute coverage, see the following news sites:
* Washington and Alaska have zones that are subduction faults, but their pressure is released regularly in the form of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. On the east, it is the Oceanic Plate moving above the North American Plate and it’s been a few hundred years since its pressure has been released.