Big Earthquake in Japan

A M6.7 (6.8 according to the USGS) earthquake hit the north shore of Japan today. I’ve heard of at least 6 fatalities, and that the quake caused a fire at a nuclear power plant. My Japanese is a little rusty (I learned it all from reading menus), but some of the video here is interesting. In particular, I am always looking for how people react in the videos. Most of the time people look confused and rarely do they do what they are supposed to do. Never having been in a large earthquake, I am in no position to criticize, but maybe it says something about our earthquakle preparedness?

UPDATE 11:14 PM my time – Reports are now that a very small amount of contaminated water leaked out of the reactor and into the Sea of Japan. In addition, another M6.8 quake hit the same region, farther out at sea and fairly deep (316 km according to the USGS, compared to the earlier one at 55km,) so we’ll see if it does much damage.

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4 Responses to Big Earthquake in Japan

  1. Kim says:

    <>In particular, I am always looking for how people react in the videos. Most of the time people look confused and rarely do they do what they are supposed to do. Never having been in a large earthquake, I am in no position to criticize, but maybe it says something about our earthquakle preparedness?<>Heh. I was in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, after having been in California for a grand total of three weeks… for graduate school in geology. Because I had ended up in charge of distributing the earthquake preparedness advice to my on-campus house, I ran to the door* of my room. And then I spent the entire quake sitting wedged into the door, yelling “Is this an earthquake? Is this an earthquake?”So. Prepared? Not mentally, that’s for sure, despite knowing darn well that I had chosen to go to grad school next to a plate boundary.I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that experience when teaching intro classes, though.* The USGS no longer advises going to a door. I think the guys in Menlo Park watched the doors swinging, and realized that maybe the doorways weren’t such a good place, after all.

  2. In my time in grad school in the bay area I only experience 1 moderate sized quake, and the whole time I kept thinking it was probably just CalTrain passing by my apartment. One of the more amazing reactions I ever saw on camera was < HREF="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW-TkpvKPl0" REL="nofollow">this one<> from UC Santa Cruz, during the loma prieta quake. You can see a student in the front row dive under a desk with the first shake, the reaction time is just absurd. I think I’d probably be more like the dude in the back who just stands up and watches the lights fall down.What I am even more embarrassed about though is how pathetic my “emergency kit” was at home. Something that I could have totally prepared for, having water, food, batteries, etc. all packed up in a safe place. I rarely had anything that would have helped much, and the one time I did made a kit I dipped into it one summer when my paycheck got seriously delayed, and never bothered replenishing the canned soup.

  3. Anonymous says:

    if not a doorway, where the hell is the USGS recommending you go in the event of an earthquake? helicopter? nebraska? this is pertinent to my well-being, as i live in the “city that waits to die.” yet i still don’t have an emergency kit, just two giant empty water bottles gathering dust in my closet. might have some canned baked beans in the cupboard, not sure though.

  4. I believe the USGS recommends a bike helmet, rec-specs, and nose plugs. Other helpful outfits include those sumo wrestling suits they have at bars, and/or filling your apartment with bouncy balls.And seriously dude, get the emergency kit, at least you can have stuff to sell at a huge mark up when the big one does hit.

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