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Evil Rays

Australia: Quake adds to north's disasters

© Unknown
FIRST it was a cyclone, then flooding, and then came the earthquake.

At 4.08pm yesterday a magnitude-4 earthquake struck about 30km off the coast of Innisfail, in far north Queensland, an area already hard hit by Cyclone Yasi last month and inundated by torrential monsoon rains.

Locals reported the quake to Geosciences Australia from Innisfail, Gordonvale and even Cairns, 70km away from its epicentre.

It was insufficient to cause a tsunami and there were no early reports of damage but locals took to Twitter to bemoan the recent trifecta of natural disasters. Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepsen said it would have produced "a bit of a shake" and "some rattling of windows" in the Innisfail area.

He ruled out any connection to recent earthquakes in Christchurch or Japan, saying those incidents were too far away to generate a far north Queensland quake.

Bizarro Earth

And the aftershocks go on: 275 new tremors hit quake-torn Japan as fears grow for missing 10,000 in flattened port town

  • 42 survivors have been pulled out of the rubble
  • Official death toll hits 1,597, but many hundreds believed to be buried under rubble or washed away by waves
  • Toll will soar after around 2,000 bodies were found on the shores of Miyagi prefecture
  • Second explosion at nuclear power plant
  • Number of people contaminated with radiation could reach 160
  • Region hit by hundreds of aftershocks, some up to 6.8-magnitude
  • Rescue operation begins but some areas still cut off by road damage and flood waters
  • 70,000 people evacuated to shelters in Sendai
Forty-two survivors have been pulled from the rubble in the flattened town of Minami Sanrik, where up to 10,000 people are feared to have perished.

Around half the town's 18,000 residents are missing but search and rescue teams are still working desperately through the rubble to try and find more people.

Police are also trying to stop people returning to their homes.

Despite the first tsunami warning being issued to the town that lies two miles from the coastline, some residents decided to stay in their homes instead of fleeing - leading to the high number of missing people, CNN reported today..

Most of the houses in Minami Sanriku have been completely flattened and waterlogged and one house was found even with seaweed inside.

Villagers carry relief goods in Minami Sanriku, the worst-hit area where almost 10,000 people have gone missing
Japanese home guard help survivors to safety in the flooded town of Minami Sanriku

Bizarro Earth

Geophysicists Worry Quake is Not The Last

The unusually high number of aftershocks following Japan's strongest ever earthquake last Friday has caused concern among geophysicists that it may actually be a chain of separate quakes.

Ring of Fire
© POSTgraphics
Michio Hashizume, a Japanese geology expert working with Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Science, said his contemporaries in Japan are wondering if the string of tremors felt around the county since Friday's 9.0-magnitude are actually aftershocks.

"We are questioning if they are really aftershocks, because in theory they should happen close to the epicentre, but this time, [some of] the [following] earthquakes have happened far from the epicentre," Mr Hashizume said.

"We are thinking the 9.0 earthquake may have triggered a chain of earthquakes. If so, we expect more earthquakes, possibly as strong as magnitude 7, within the next three days."

The geologists are concerned about the possibility of another big earthquake soon, which could create another tsunami, he said.

Alarm Clock

How the Japan Earthquake Shortened Days on Earth

The massive earthquake that struck northeast Japan Friday (March 11) has shortened the length Earth's day by a fraction and shifted how the planet's mass is distributed.

This map shows the location of the March 11, 2011 earthquake in Japan, as well as the foreshocks (dotted lines), including a 7.2-magnitude event on March 9, and aftershocks (solid lines). The size of each circle represents the magnitude of the associated quake or shock.

A new analysis of the 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan has found that the intense temblor has accelerated Earth's spin, shortening the length of the 24-hour day by 1.8 microseconds, according to geophysicist Richard Gross at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Gross refined his estimates of the Japan quake's impact - which previously suggested a 1.6-microsecond shortening of the day - based on new data on how much the fault that triggered the earthquake slipped to redistribute the planet's mass. A microsecond is a millionth of a second. [Photos: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in Pictures]


Japan earthquake, tsunami death toll likely above 10,000; survivors worry about supplies

© Unknown
Tokyo - Overwhelmed by a still-growing catastrophe, Japanese authorities struggled Monday to reach buried survivors and the missing, faced roadblocks in delivering aid and raced to contain an expanding nuclear emergency.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan called the crisis the country's toughest challenge since World War II and said that decimated towns along the northeastern coastline were not yet getting the food and supplies they needed.

A series of unstable nuclear plants across the country threatened to compound the nation's difficulties, which started with Friday's double-barreled disasters: first an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, then a tsunami. At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, one containment building housing an overheated reactor had already exploded. A second explosion, about noon local time Monday, destroyed an outer building at another of the plant's reactors.

Officials said a third reactor at the six-reactor facility had lost its cooling capacity, and the U.S. Seventh Fleet, stationed 100 miles offshore, repositioned its ships and aircraft after some if its personnel came into contact with radioactive contamination.

With a government spokesman saying that the reactor units could be in partial meltdown, an alarmed public struggled to understand the safety implications of trace radiation leakage, even as the government said that public safety was not in danger.


Magnitude 4.8 - Near the coast of Nicaragua

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 4.8

* Friday, March 11, 2011 at 16:54:52 UTC
* Friday, March 11, 2011 at 10:54:52 AM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 12.304°N, 87.514°W
Depth 64.3 km (40.0 miles)
Distances 52 km (32 miles) SW of Chinandega, Nicaragua
70 km (43 miles) WSW of Leon, Nicaragua
136 km (84 miles) W of MANAGUA, Nicaragua
1475 km (916 miles) ESE of MEXICO CITY, D.F., Mexico

Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 25.2 km (15.7 miles); depth +/- 2.2 km (1.4 miles)

Cloud Lightning

Another strong quake rattles Japan


Earthquakes Japan can handle, but tsunamis are another story
A powerful earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale has struck the coast of Honshu in eastern Japan.

The quake struck at 8:24 a.m. local time on Sunday (2324 GMT on Saturday), according to the US Geological Survey.

The epicenter was monitored at 37.9813 degrees north latitude and 141.8492 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 24.8 kilometers (14 miles), the Xinhua news agency reported.

The quake was followed by a 6.6-magnitude aftershock two minutes later.

Japan is still conducting rescue operations in the aftermath of Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake, which triggered a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and over 50 aftershocks, with many measuring more than 6.0 on the Richter scale.

There are concerns that the death toll from the catastrophic earthquake could exceed 1,800.


Photos: Japan Earthquake Aftermath

Three days after a massive earthquake that is now estimated to have registered a 9.0 magnitude, Japanese rescue crews are being joined by foreign aid teams in the search for survivors in the wreckage. Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan has called the disaster the nation's worst crisis since World War II, as the incredible scope of the destruction becomes clear and fears mount of a possible nuclear meltdown at a failing power plant. It is still too early for exact numbers, but the estimated death toll may top 10,000 as thousands remain unaccounted for. Gathered here are new images of the destruction and of the search for survivors.

© REUTERS/Mainichi Shimbun
A wave approaches Miyako City from the Heigawa estuary in Iwate Prefecture after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the area March 11, 2011. Picture taken March 11, 2011.


Japan quake: Toll may cross 10,000 in Miyagi alone

The toll from a magnitude-8.9 earthquake in Japan could exceed 10,000 in the hardest-hit prefecture of Miyagi alone, police said on Sunday, as other officials tried to reassure the public that reactors at two damaged nuclear power plants posed no immediate danger.

"I have no doubt" that the death toll would rise above 10,000 in the prefecture, public broadcaster NHK quoted police chief Takeuchi Naoto as saying.

About 800 deaths had been confirmed so far in Miyagi and other areas in northeastern Japan, which were hit Friday by the quake and a tsunami. No contact could be established with about 10,000 residents of the town of Minamisanriku.

Bizarro Earth

US: Moderate Quake Hits Gulf of California on Saturday Morning

Gulf of California Quake
© The Weather Space
A 5.3-magnitude Earthquake hit the Gulf of California on Saturday morning.

TWS did not receive any reports of damage, however reports of light shaking were received in the city of Los Mochis, Mexico.

The quake hit under 50 miles west of Los Mochis at 7:11 a.m. local time, and struck the very center of the Gulf of California, on the plate boundary.

Sensors indicated the quake was a strike-slip, or side to side motion along the fault-zone.

A 4.7-magnitude aftershock was registered in the same location as the larger quake several hours later.

The USGS data for this quake can be viewed here.