This is a special Philaburbia Weather post on the Sendai earthquake and tsunami:
Even though earthquakes and tsunamis aren’t exactly weather related, many meteorologists become interested when a natural disaster occurs. So what exactly happened in Japan yesterday? According to the USGS, the magnitude of the quake was 8.9. It occurred around 130 kilometers from the shoreline in the Pacific Ocean. Because earthquakes are exponentially measured, higher magnitude quakes are substantially more serious than a quake maybe just a few numbers lower (7.0-8.0). Japan lies on the edge of a major tectonic plate, therefore earthquakes are part of normal life and structures are built to withstand frequent earthquakes. As a result, many of the buildings and structures on the northeastern side of the island stood without any major collapses.
Here’s a whirlpool that formed because of the tsunami:
The real damage came from the tsunami caused by the earthquake. The quake was a result of two tectonic plates slipping in a rapid fashion. Because the quake originated in the ocean, the movement of the plates caused a massive wall of water to form and start moving away from the quake in all directions. The city of Sendai received the most damage, with the storm surge rising over 20 feet. Anything in the way of the surging water was washed away and became part of the murky water. Thousands are feared to be dead and missing. There is also a scare that a major nuclear meltdown will ensue.
Here is a video of the tsunami taking over the Sendai airport:
More details will unfold as the water recedes and damage is accessed. I send my most sincere regards to the people of Japan, specifically Sendai; I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now.
That’s all for now,