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Devastating Earthquake and Tsunami Surge Waves in Japan plus Nuclear Meltdown Explosion

Posted by pwl on March 11, 2011

The 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami was massive, possibly the largest ever recorded in Japan. There are many people injured or killed or missing. There were massive tsunami surge waves that have devastated the coastlines of parts of Japan. In addition to the Earthquake, Tsunami Surge Waves, and human toll there is a serious risk of a nuclear incident unfolding.

“Explosion rocks third Fukushima reactor
14 March 2011
First published: 3.08am GMT
UPDATE 1: 3.25am Addition of background information
UPDATE 2: 3.49am Technical details on pressure
UPDATE 3: 4.34am Injuries, radiation rates and pressure data

Another hydrogen explosion has rocked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, this time at the third reactor unit. Initial analysis is that the containment structure remains intact.

The blast that occurred at 11.01am today was much larger than the one seen at unit 1 two days ago. An orange flash came before a large column of brown and grey smoke. A large section of the relatively lightweight roof was seen to fly upwards before landing back on other power plant buildings.
…” – World Nuclear News WNN

CNN on second explosion:

RT on second explosion:

Update 20110313 8:45am PST:
“Earthquake impact on Fukushima Daiichi

Reactors 1, 2 and 3 were in operation at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco’s) east coast Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant when the earthquake struck. Three other reactors were already shut for inspection but all three operating units underwent automatic shutdown as expected. Because plant power and grid power were unavailable during the earthquake, diesel generators started automatically to supply power for decay heat removal.

This situation continued for one hour until the plant was hit by the tsunami wave, which stopped the generators and left the plant in black-out conditions. The loss of power meant inevitable rises in temperature within the reactor system as well increases in pressure. Engineers fought for many hours to install mobile power units to replace the diesels and managed to stabilise conditions at units 2 and 3.

However, there was not enough power to provide sufficient coolant to unit 1, which came under greater and greater strain from falling water levels and steady pressure rises. Tepco found it necessary yesterday to vent steam from the reactor containment. Next, the world saw a sharp hydrogen explosion destroy a portion of the reactor building roof. The government ordered the situation brought under control by the injection of seawater to the reactor vessel.”

“Operations to relieve pressure in the containment of Fukushima Daiichi 3 have taken place after the failure of a core coolant system. Seawater is being injected to make certain of core cooling, but two separate malfunctions are hampering efforts.”
Efforts to manage Fukushima Daiichi 3

UPDATE: One of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor containment buildings suffers a catastrophic explosion, on March 12th at 00:00 midnight P.S.T., as this video shows at 0:45 seconds. Not good at all. Very bad.

Several people appear to be injured at Fukushima nuclear plant – NHK

Walls and roof of a building at site destroyed by blast – NHK via Sky News

Slightly better quality.

‎”FUKUSHIMA, Japan, March 12 (Reuters) – Radiation leaked from an unstable Japanese nuclear reactor north of Tokyo on Saturday, the government said, after an explosion blew the roof off the facility in the wake of a massive earthquake.

The blast came as plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) worked desperately to reduce pressures in the core of the reactor.

“An unchecked rise in temperature could cause the core to essentially turn into a molten mass that could burn through the reactor vessel,” risk information service Stratfor said in a report before the explosion. “This may lead to a release of an unchecked amount of radiation into the containment building that surrounds the reactor.

NHK television and Jiji said the outer structure of the building that houses the reactor appeared to have blown off, which could suggest the containment building had already been breached.”

The 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami (東北地方太平洋沖地震 Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin[2]?, literally “Tōhoku region Pacific Ocean offshore earthquake”) was an 8.9-magnitude megathrust earthquake that created tsunami waves of up to 10 metres (33 ft).[3] It was measured at 7[4] on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale in the northern Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, with an initially-reported magnitude of 7.9,[4] while the JMA’s tsunami warning listed the magnitude as 8.4,[5] later updated to 8.8.[6] The earthquake focus was reported to be off the Oshika Peninsula, the east coast of Tōhoku on 11 March 2011, at 05:46 UTC (14:46 local time) at a depth of 24.4 kilometres (15.2 mi).[7] News reports by Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) indicate that at least 300 people have died and another 530 are missing in six different prefectures,[1] although it is feared the total number of dead could be far higher.[8][9]
The magnitude of 8.9 made it the largest earthquake to hit Japan in recorded history[3] and the seventh largest in the world since records began.[10][11]” – “2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami

To find someone or to report information about someone in the Japanese 2011 Earthquake you can use the Google Person-Finder application to search and post information.

The Google Crisis Response page may be of help. /strong>

The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program page for the 2011 March 11 05:46:23 UTC Magnitude 8.9 – NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN.

Earthquakes Put Japan’s Nuclear Reactors on Red Alert
The 8.9-magnitude earthquake that shook Japan early March 11 blew out the cooling systems of two nuclear reactors there. An inability to cool the reactors could cause radiation leaks, and both power plants are “bracing for the worst,” according to government officials.

“At present we have no reports of any radioactive materials or otherwise affecting the surrounding areas,” Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the press. The malfunctions are occuring at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant near Tokyo and the Tohoku Electric Power Co. facility in Onagawa. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that all the necessary precautions are being taken to prepare for radiation leaks, including evacuating thousands of residents within a 3-mile radius of the Fukushima facility.

Eleven reactors nearest the quake’s epicenter automatically shut down upon sensing vibrations in the early hours of March 11. “Reactors shut themselves down automatically when something called ‘ground acceleration’ is registered at a certain point, which is usually quite small. It will instantly drop control rods into the [nuclear] core,” Professor Tim Albram, a nuclear fuel engineer at the University of Manchester in the U.K., explained to the press.

” – Fox News, Live Science, Earthquakes Put Japan’s Nuclear Reactors on Red Alert

A map of the earthquake zone shows how volatile this location is.

The March 11, 2011 Earthquake was located at the largest large orange dot in the image above. Image source: Google Earth.

Click Image for Latest Aftershock Map

The March 11, 2011 Earthquake projected tsunami shock wave time to impact after quake across the pacific basin. Image source: Wikipedia.

The March 11, 2011 Earthquake projected tsunami shock wave impact energy projections after quake across the pacific basin. Image source: NOAA via Wikipedia.

Santa Cruz, CA, USA hit by small tsunami surge wave that caused some damage.

Crescent City, Santa Cruz hit hard by tsunami from Japan quake.
Crescent City, site of a deadly tsunami four decades ago, appears to be particularly hard hit.” – LA Times

“Tsunami City, USA
Why is Crescent City, Calif., so susceptible to tsunamis?

The tsunami capital of the continental United States is Crescent City, Calif. (population 7,542), an economically depressed logging and fishing town just south of the Oregon border. Crescent City is predicted to be the California location hit hardest by the Japanese tsunami; one forecast predicts 7-foot waves, though so far the observed effect has been minimal. [Update, 2:28 p.m. ET: The Los Angeles Times reports 6.5-foot waves in Crescent City causing “significant damage” to boats in the harbor and “most of the docks” and flooding an inland creek. No reports yet of injuries or deaths. Larger surges may follow.]

They’ve seen it before. Since 1933, 31 tsunamis have been observed in Crescent City. Four of those caused damage, and one of them, in March 1964, remains the “largest and most destructive recorded tsunami to ever strike the United States Pacific Coast,” according to the University of Southern California’s Tsunami Research Center. The 1964 tsunami killed 17 people on the West Coast, 11 of them in Crescent City.” – Slate, Tsunami City, USA

Japan may have been moved 8 feet!

“(CNN) — The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.
“At this point, we know that one GPS station moved (8 feet), and we have seen a map from GSI (Geospatial Information Authority) in Japan showing the pattern of shift over a large area is consistent with about that much shift of the land mass,” said Kenneth Hudnut, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters).” – CNN

I don’t know what to make of the following except to note it as an interesting anomaly.

“This is getting a bit wierd. A short geomagnetic disturbance again followed within minutes by two 6+ magnitude quakes.” – Vukcevic,

Correlated times of magneto meter readings with USGS earthquake readings.

MAP 6.3 2011/03/11 20:11:23 39.025 142.645 8.7 NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
MAP 6.6 2011/03/11 19:46:49 40.472 139.070 10.0 NEAR THE WEST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

MAP 6.1 2011/03/11 19:02:59 39.372 142.900 24.8 NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
MAP 6.2 2011/03/11 18:59:15 37.037 138.355 10.0 NEAR THE WEST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN

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