Several of Japan's nuclear power plants, especially the Fukushima Naiishi plant in northeastern Japan, are experiencing serious problems in the wake of Friday's earthquake and tsunami. If you've been following the news, you've seen some pretty alarming stuff going on at this plant--terms like "explosion," "partial meltdown," "evacuation," and "radiation exposure." With details sparse from the chaotic scene, here's what you need to know to understand and make sense of the news unfolding in Japan.
All the news about devastating tsunamis is drawing greater attention to a new claim that researchers have found the lost city of Atlantis — buried in mud on the southern tip of Spain. Scientists say they have found proof of a 4,000-year-old civilization that was buried by a tsunami.
Seismologists are putting together some impressive computer models of the devastating earthquake that struck Japan Friday. As the tragedy continues to unfold, it’s pretty breathtaking to see the Earth’s destructive power in action.
It’s easy to think of tsunamis as phenomenon that mimic the behavior of ripples on the surface of water; you toss a stone into a pond and the resulting energy from the splash moves out away from the epicenter in a series of even, concentric circles. But this NOAA energy distribution map from the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile over the weekend tells a different story.
Monstrous tsunami waves, like the one that killed over 200,000 people in the Indian Ocean in 2004, create an electric field as they form. This field could possibly be sensed by a network of underwater sensors. Such a network would be extremely valuable but also prohibitively expensive to build. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) propose, however, that the existing large network of undersea communication cables could be used instead. That finding could lead to early warnings that may complement existing tsunami warning systems.
It takes Scott Kiser only a split second to name the one city in the U.S., and probably the world, that would sustain the most catastrophic damage from a category-5 hurricane. "New Orleans," says Kiser, a tropical-cyclone program manager for the National Weather Service. "Because the city is below sea level-with the Mississippi River on one side and Lake Pontchartrain on the other-it is a hydrologic nightmare." The worst problem, he explains, would be a storm surge, a phenomenon in which high winds stack up huge waves along a hurricane´s leading edge.
Scientists say we’re ill-prepared for devastating tsunamis.
By Rena PacellaPosted 11.14.2004 at 6:00 pm 0 Comments
For years, scientist Bill McGuire of University College London has been warning the world about Cumbre Vieja, a volcano on the island of La Palma off the African coast. If it erupts, he says, it could force a Manhattan-size rock to splash down into the Atlantic Ocean, kicking up 300-story-high waves that would travel out from the island at jet speeds. Within nine hours, 85-foot-high swells would slam Florida’s Cape Canaveral. Now scientists at the University of Hawaii say that this wild scenario has historical precedence: A similar event unfolded 120,000 years ago in the Pacific.