3/11/11 Great Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami In Japan

Ever since the Great Boxing Day Quake five years ago, we have seen wave after wave of mega-earthquakes shake all over the planet.  This is due to the global nature of tectonic plate movements.  When one section has a major realignment, all the others have to adjust.  The earthquake that hit northern Japan today is definitely a huge one, 8.9.  The chances of a major 8+ quake on the US coast is climbing rapidly since we see the Pacific Plate reorganizing itself.


IRIS Seismic Monitor – Recent Earthquakes

We can see from this IRIS map how the West Coast is under great pressure with the node point off the Oregon coast shaking with medium-sized quakes nearly nonstop now.  The subsidence point in Arkansas is also very active with a quake in the last 24 hours, too.  This is not due to the ant-like actions of humans injecting water, this is a signal that all parts in the US prone to 7+mag earthquakes will be having these in rather quick succession (geologically speaking, of course!).

All over the world are tsunami flood plains.  Sometimes it is thousands of years between major tsunami events.  The mega-mega tsunami that swept away an entire civilization in the Aegean Sea area 4,000 years ago was caused by a volcanic eruption.  But the ones that happen along subduction zones are much more frequent as we see in the last 5 years.

Unfortunately for humans, one of the ideal places to farm, fish and build cities is on very flat areas right next to ocean subduction zones.  So the chances of being nearly totally wiped out by a tsunami over a 5,000 year period approaches 100%.  The Japanese have a rich ‘folk history’ of tsunamis suddenly pouring in after the earth shakes.  This is where the dragon stories come in.

This is also why the god of earthquakes in the Aegean is Poseidon who is an ocean god, not an earth god.  That is, earthquakes often signal a tsunami event, at least, the earthquakes that are remembered with the greatest fears. There is one story about Poseidon suddenly sweeping in out of the ocean to carry off a handsome young man driving his chariot along the shore.

Tsunamis are more frightful than earthquakes because people run out into the streets after an earthquake and thus, can’t take shelter in buildings.  I watched the al Jazerera video of the tsunami in Japan and you can see a poor victim driving along the road parallel to the sea stop his white car, turn it sideways and then after two tries, manages to jump the curb and he begins madly driving across the fields, trying to outrun the tsunami.  He fails.  It sweeps him up along with all the houses and boats and debris.

This week, the great man who first proved tectonic plate movements is how the earth is organized, died here in upstate NY:  Jack Oliver, Who Proved Continental Drift, Dies at 87 – NYTimes.com


  • In the 1960s, scientists set up seismometers across the world, allowing them to measure and record the slightest shakings almost anywhere. In 1964, Dr. Oliver and a former graduate student of his, Bryan Isacks, went to the South Pacific to set up seismic stations on the island nations of Tonga and Fiji.


  • They puzzled over waves from deep earthquakes, emanating as far down as 400 miles below the surface, before realizing that part of the seafloor was being bent downward and pushed into Earth’s interior.


  • In 1968, Dr. Oliver, Dr. Isacks and another former graduate student of Dr. Oliver, Lynn Sykes, wrote a paper, “Seismology and the New Global Tectonics,” that put together earthquake evidence from around the world that made a convincing case that continental drift — now called plate tectonics — was indeed occurring.

Professor Oliver has always been a hero to me.  When he proposed the theory of plate tectonics, he was vigorously attacked by many geologists.  But a major geologist in Tucson, Dr. Damon, immediately championed his theory.  I am rather biased since Dr. Damon was a dear friend of mine.  He explained, in greatest excitement, the theory when the paper was published and I jumped up with joy, it made elegant sense just as Darwin’s theories for evolution.

Back to Japan’s news: nuclear power plant had to shut down, probably thousands have died.  Manufacturing facilities are destroyed, oil storage points shattered, this is a major ecological event especially if the nuclear power plants have major problems.  Japan’s economy is taking a HUGE hit here.  Fires are particularly difficult after earthquakes.   California has refineries, oil facilities and other things just like Japan and LA is a tsunami flood zone, big time.  The ability to prepare for mega-quakes is very small.

The tsunami barriers Japan erected along nearly all the coasts occupied by cities was easily swamped by this tsunami.  It barely slowed it down, for example.  The Dragon of the Sea is the hardest force to stay right alongside the Dragon of the Volcano.  My heart goes out to all the victims and there are many, in Japan.  And this will set back Japan in so many ways for a long time just as the Great Kanto destroyed Tokyo and caused the Japanese military to go on a massive looting expedition in Asia creating WWII.

Incidentally, if we  look at the list of great quakes in Japan, a surprising number of them happen in March.  List of earthquakes in Japan – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The sun and moon affects the triggering of plate movements, I suspect.  The moon, after all, governs the seas!

sunset borger

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sunset borger



Filed under Geology

27 responses to “3/11/11 Great Sendai Earthquake and Tsunami In Japan

  1. Duski

    …hahaha.. about that moon, stopping inserting water somewhere and thinking that can affect something is just plain silly. Moon moves sea so humongous amounts that… oh well.

    Sigh, poor Japan. Well, at least that country has risen twice already from the ashes, maybe they will pull it off again, eventually. And I don’t only mean this earthquake etc, but their overall situation.

  2. JSmith

    Completely coincidentally, just now I’m re-reading Simon Winchester’s book on Krakatau (“Krakatoa: The Day The World Exploded”); that eruption apparently generated no less than four huge waves during the last 20-hour eruption. Of the 36,000+ people killed in that eruption, all but a thousand or so were killed by the waves.

    As an aside… a scientist named J. Tuzo Wilson also had much to do with the development of the theory of tectonics.

  3. LesserFool

    “The sun and moon affects the triggering of plate movements, I suspect.”

    And the moon will be closer than ever this March 19th, a “supermoon.”


    BTW, China is no longer a net exporter, so you may need to change your tune. I think those commodities imports caught up to them. Plus higher wages. Plus … ?

    Very sad for Japan, indeed. I wonder if they’ll be keeping their damaged nuclear plants, or consider alternatives (like solar).


    ELAINE: As usual, I said something about this: OIL IMPORTS are high in cost! Duh! Plus China is restricting exports of important commodities (and WHEAT).

  4. Jay

    Duski: – “Sigh, poor Japan”

    Its a major disaster there affecting thousands not just in Japan but around the world including me.
    So keep your stupid apathetic sympathy to yourself – stupid fool.

  5. Meadows

    Once again EMSNEWS is the place to get the info on this stuff. thanks…

  6. Nisei

    The damage in Japan will continue to be totaled for a couple of weeks. The central coast of Honshu is very susceptible to tsunami damage from Sendai Bay south, with the conformation of the seafloor to shoreline transitions.

    Prayers for those who have been lost in this disaster, as well as the friends and families of the victims.

    The effects will reverberate throughout the world in many ways, as the vibrations of a bell slowly fade after being struck.

  7. Wu Wei

    Elaine, seeing the date like that in the title of your post made me go all like “Holy OCCULT numbers, 03-11-11 = 7, Batman!”

    My guess? Earthquake device used by the elite to keep Japan under their control 😛

    Nikola Tesla had the following theory: every substance has a resonant frequency which is demonstrated by the principle of sympathetic vibration: the most obvious example is the wine glass shattered by an opera singer. If this frequency is matched and amplified, any material may be literally shaken to pieces.”

    So, all you would need is Earth’s resonance frequency and voila, one can now create earthquakes at will. Wherever you please.

  8. Wu Wei

    No people, I’m not crazy. I’m open minded. I definitely think an earthquake device is possible. The theory adds up.

    Who knows? Weather devices exist too, might be possible the elite invented more of these crazy devices.

  9. Wu Wei

    Elaine, you love and worship occult numbers knowing you’re a tarot groupie and all. There is a reason you decided to show them in the title of your post, didn’t you 😉

    Elite occult symbolism 😛

  10. Wu Wei

    didn’t you = isn’t there

    Excuse my poor English, I am foreign scum.

  11. Patrick

    My brother is working overseas in Sendai… I am completely numb watching these reports… since my family is not able to contact him. What a horrific day for Japan! We are hoping to hear from the U.S. State Department soon… And I am keeping the Japanese in my thoughts and prayers as well.


    ELAINE; I pray your brother is able to contact you. Earthquakes with tsunamis are one of the most dangerous events next to volcanic eruptions…and asteroid strikes. 88,000 may be lost in this event. Heartbreaking.

  12. JT



    Google just announced a people finder.

  13. This post of yours is very interesting and informative. In the 1950s, as a child, I read George Gamow’s book The Biography of the Earth: Its Past, Present, and Future. He presented Wegener’s theory, and then said that, since there was plausible mechanism presented for the continental drift to have happened, it was the consensus among geologists that the observed correspondence of coastlines for South America and Africa was “coincidence.” I wondered about that, and as years went I watched as the plate tectonics theory and evidence overwhelmed the skepticism of the fossil geologists (using “fossil” figuratively, not literally, in this case – an example of a Kuhnian paradigm shift).

    I lived in Japan for a year as a child. My Japanese nanny was very good to me. The Japanese have also been very cruel to other peoples – but so have a lot of other groups as well, including my own. So it goes.

  14. since there was NO plausible mechanism

  15. Patrick

    @ JT… Thank you for the link. Looks like one of my brother’s friends created a profile page for him. Will keep watching and hoping from here.

  16. Niels Laughlin

    Don’t forget Alfred Wegener, the geophysicist who first proposed plate tectonics!

  17. DeVaul

    I went down to tell the one Japanese woman who works here how sorry I was about what happened. Everyone else is oblivious. Today is a UK game day.

    Anyway, she was sitting in her office in a state of shock. Even though she smiled, I could tell it was a fake, Asian-style smile that they always use to hide their feelings or something. Since my wife is Thai, I could tell her true feelings by looking in her eyes and ignoring the smile.

    Fortunately, her family lived elsewhere, but she may have lost some friends. I don’t know.

    I have no idea how Japan is going to pay for this, and this is also why I am strongly against any kind of nuclear power. It always fails, and the environmental costs are not something our species can deal with (recovery times of 25 thousand plus years?).

  18. nah

    Absolutely terrible crisis… watched the VDO and it speaks volumes to the underlying catastrophe that has beset Japan

    best wishes

  19. CedarS

    A true disaster, travel is pinched by air, sea and land! Much help will be needed.

    As an aside, a while back, I spoke with a logistic manager who was well versed in “just-in-time” delivery systems. It was like speaking with someone who thought of themselves as a deity (no joke). There was no hurdle or barrier that stood in the way of delivering goods.

    I brought up the flooding of the Mississippi River a number of years ago that closed or wiped out nearly every bridge and asked what are the plans for large scale events.

    He had no clue this was possible.

  20. seraphim

    The recent quakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis in the Pacific may focus our attention to some theories dismissed out of hand by the “savants”. Namely that the “myth” of Atlantis was more than a myth. With a slight correction: the true Atlantis was in…the Pacific. The evidence of a sunken continent is overwhelming. The evidence that it sustained a high civilization is gathering pace. It was from there that a people moved by a desire for wealth and power expanded by sea in search of wealth and power. The Greek philosophers already knew that ‘chrematistic’ the desire for wealth, for money, emerged with navigation and discovery of metals. It can be little doubt that the metal working appeared in volcanic regions.
    It certainly has to do with the Dragons of the volcanoes and the sea, as well as with the cave of money and death!

  21. Pingback: Plate Tectonics

  22. emsnews

    ‘Atlantis’ was probably the Cretean empire. It was literally swept away by the Tera explosion/tsunami.

  23. seraphim

    There were certainly more than one ‘Atlantis’.
    Crete doesn’t fit too well the description of Plato (i.e. of the Egyptian priests). Atlantis is about a sunken island ‘the size of Libya and Asia combined’ beyond the Pillars of Herakles in the Ocean, nine thousand years before Plato. The description fits a tropical land(there were elephants, spices, luxuriant vegetation), rich in copper and tin.

  24. payAttention

    OMG.. they are going to melt down. Please let this not be true. I apologize to you Elaine for being mean spirited. Your writing has been very interesting for some time now.

  25. Pingback: May 14, 2011 – Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Crisis « Mike's and Harry's Personal Computer Vibes and Practical Environmental Musings

  26. The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, however I genuinely believed you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could possibly fix if you weren’t too busy seeking attention.

  27. Dai

    Thanks for the interesting post 🙂

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