Earthquake news round-up

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, March 14th, 2011 - 19 comments
Categories: disaster - Tags: ,

The destruction wrought by the 9.0 Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami is truly appalling. Untold lives have been lost. Thousands of square kilometres were obliterated by the water which swept up to 20km inland.

The death toll officially stands at 1,000-2,000 but it must really be much higher. One town alone reports 10,000 of its 23,000 residents missing while several cities with populations in the tens of thousands were subjected first to shaking, then tsunami, and finally fires.

There is still no comprehensive picture of the damage done to these cities and how much of their populations managed to escape before the tsunami hit. Some 500,000 people are in emergency shelters and power is out to 10% of homes in the country.

One 60 year old man was rescued from the roof of his house, which had been swept 15km out to sea. The tsunami caused damage as far away as Crescent City, California, where the harbour was wrecked and one spectator drowned.

Some coastal areas are now below sea-level while towns and rural areas remain submerged by stagnant tsunami water.

Amazing before and after shots of the tsunami damage.

Cooling problems have been reported at six nuclear reactors. One appears to have partially melted down and a hydrogen explosion blew away its outer containment building although the inner containment does not seem to have been breached and radiation release has been minimal. A second reactor appears to be on the verge of meltdown.

The most affected region is not near Japan’s economic heartland, nonetheless the economic cost will be huge. Estimates of physical damage run from US$100 billion to $1 trillion but it is impossible to really know. As we know from Christchurch there will be an immediate economic hit followed by increased activity due to the rebuilding.

However, the scale of this event means the insurance pay-outs and liquidation of Japanese savings to fund that rebuilding will affect the global economy. As capital is sent or repatriated to Japan less will be available to others, meaning investment and borrowing costs will rise. The yen should gain in value as it did after Kobe, while countries that have capital sucked out of them (possibly including New Zealand) will see their currencies fall. The hit to the global economy should also see a ‘flight to quality’, dampening demand for our dollar, which means higher returns for exports and higher prices for international commodities (oil, milk etc)

Science corner:
The quake has been upgraded to 9.0 on the Richter scale. That means it released about 2 exajoules of energy, which is 474 megatonnes, nearly five times the largest ever man-made explosion – the Tsar Bomba – and 11,000 times more powerful than the Christchurch earthquake.

Apparently, the maximum ground acceleration from the quake was a lot less than Chch2 (0.35g vs 2g), which meant buildings would have been less likely to be knocked over but shaking went on for five minutes and the repeated stressing would have created severe damage. The huge cracks in roads are evidence of that.

Japan moved around 8 feet closer to North America and moved downwards about 2 feet due to the movement of the plates. The means the Earth’s mass is now slightly more concentrated around its axis. Like an ice skater bringing here arms in to spin faster, conservation of angular momentum means the Earth’s spin has sped up making a day 1.6 milliseconds shorter. Interestingly (for certain values of ‘interesting), this actually makes a day closer to 24 hours long. See there are 86,400 seconds in 24 hours. The STI unit for seconds is set as 9,192,631,770 periods of the cesium atom and that hasn’t changed but, because events like this earthquake change the speed of Earth’s rotation, there were about 86,400.002 seconds in an average day prior to the quake. Now, it will be much closer to 86,400, possibly meaning fewer ‘leap seconds‘. Every geosynchronous satellite will also have to be moved slightly inwards.

There orbits will also have to be adjusted for the fact that the earthquake knocked the Earth’s axis off by 10cm.

19 comments on “Earthquake news round-up”

  1. Please visit the web pages of the IERS at http://hpiers.obspm.fr/ and look at the plots showing how much the length of day changes and how much the pole wanders. The effect of the earthquake is 1000 times smaller than the other effects seen in those plots. The changes from the earthquake are immeasurably small.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Funny that the (rather narrow) road split straight down the centre line like that. At least it’ll be passable.

    Also for those interested, here appears to be the site that Marty got his science from (or this page is copying from the original source): http://www.space.com/11115-japan-earthquake-shortened-earth-days.html

    The previous 8.8 Chile earthquake in 2010 shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds while the Boxing Day Sumatra earthquake shortened it by 6.8

    • ianmac 2.1

      Lanth. Perhaps the alarmists might worry that the days are shorter and if it keeps up there will be no days at all! 🙂
      And yes the road split along the yellow line is curious.

      • Blighty 2.1.1

        I reckon the left lane has been on some kind of supports and the yellow line traces the natural contour of the land.

        • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1

          It’ll be cool if they can just add in some supports and leave it like that, rather than re-laying the whole road.

          There’s a funny road in a cul-de-sac in Hamner Springs split on a hill kind of like that. One side has a big sloping hill, so when you get to the end of the cul-de-sac and do the 180º corner you go up the hill, and then go down hill again until the lane matches the same level as the one you came in on.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    which is 474 megatonnes, nearly five times the largest ever man-made explosion – the Tsar Bomba

    Theoretical – although designed for ~100MT the actual explosion was ~50MT making the earthquake ~9.5 times stronger.

  4. Jono 4

    Lookng at the before and after photos, and the different effects in areas with an undeveloped/relatively undeveloped coast strip and/or barrier islands and sand spits, who wants a slice of the high value low lying coastal development now? The equivalent shake to the east of us would mean bye bye Omaha, Ruakaka, Mangawhai, Ngunguru, Pakiri…(guess which part of the country I live!).

  5. vto 5

    We thought we had it tough. It was like… arrrgh, earthquake! Run for your lives!

    But in Japan it was like…

    arrrgh, earthquake! Run for your lives!

    then a bit later… arrrgh, tsunami! Run for your lives!

    then a bit later… arrrgh, fire! Run for your lives!

    then a bit later… arrrgh, nuclear holocaust! Run for your lives!

    It is like some sick joke.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.1

      …there’s also a volcano that’s decided to pip it’s squeek. It’s hard to keep up eh?

      I’m expecting to open the paper tomorrow to see a picture of a giant moth battling an even bigger lizard.

  6. Adrian 6

    I’ll bet you that today Ken Ring predicted the Sendai quake.

    • todd 6.1

      If you bothered to read, you would find that Ken Ring does not make predictions.

      • KJT 6.1.1

        Opinions! Predictions! Equally crap. Whats the difference apart from semantics.

      • Pete 6.1.2

        On his web page Can earthquakes be predicted? on October 25 2010 Ring “suggested” the following:

        Some comfort is that it would be most unlikely for a massive-size earthquake to revisit the same region so soon.

        In other words, Christchurch may be one of the safest places to live-in for a while, from here on.

        I guess that can’t be called a prediction.

        • weka 6.1.2.1

          “In other words, Christchurch may be one of the safest places to live-in for a while, from here on. ”

          The GNS guy on TV said something similar – that because the faults under Chch have quaked they don’t have the build up of stress that other faults elsewhere do, therefore it’s more likely that a big quake will now happen away from Chch (inland Canty and the Alpine fault if I recall correctly).

          Ken Ring’s work deserves critique, but quibbling over semantics, (and inaccurately at that) hardly counts as rationale critique.

      • Lanthanide 6.1.3

        Yeah, that’s like how Ghaddafi can’t stand down as leader because he isn’t the leader and doesn’t have a formal title.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago