Helping humankind live with the earth not against it

Category: earthquake

3-11 the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami – 10 years later

10 years ago a M9 rocked Japan. At that point I felt like the 2004 Sumatra earthquake and tsunami was going to my “big one”. I remember going to a meeting at school where everyone brought all the data they had run. I remember being in awe of how many buildings were able to stand up to the shaking of the earthquake. I remember my Mom calling to tell me to not be excited.

But also I remember talking about it on episode 11. I find it hard to listen to myself from that long ago so instead I wanted to tell you what I have learned in the 10 years since this event. (My archive can be found here)

We CAN build for large earthquakes. This was my biggest lesson. After Haiti in 2010 which was a M7 it was a big lesson for me. The different between a M7 and M9 is 100 times larger and 1000 times stronger. After Tohoku my advisor said something that stuck with me “earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings kill people” and we saw this play out again in L’Aquila.

Early Warning systems and community education is important. Japan has invested in its early warning system. It has phone alerts, sirens and the most amazing geophysical network of sensors. That combined with the education of the population lead to video after video of people safely evacuating by going up in buildings or on hills. The US STILL doesn’t have even close to what Japan has.

Some misinformation just sticks around. This fucking map is the god damn tsunami model and not a fucking “radiation from Fukushima” map. I will slap you if you. Period. Your seafood in the eastern Pacific is FINE.

This is a model of tsunami wave height in the Pacific produced for the 3-11 Tohoku 2011 earthquake. THIS IS NOT A MAP OF “RADIATION” if you share this map as “radiation” you are dead to me. I am so sick of seeing it!

The videos continue to fascinate me. Last year my husband and I discovered a trove of videos of the tsunami and couldn’t stop watching them. We “know” what tsunami waves look like and how they work but watching them in action was something else entirely.

Information travels faster than waves of any kind. The information wave about the earthquake and tsunami traveled faster than any of the physical waves. Enough so that several colleagues were able to set up extra sensors in order to capture it around the globe.

Know your hazards! If you live on the coast and you feel strong shaking that lasts for more than a few seconds evacuate up hill. Be safe.

Here are some of the videos (to the best of my memory these don’t contain the images of any victims however they may be upsetting to watch):

This video shows the progression as the wave comes inland from something “I could totally walk through” to buildings being ripped up. Tsunami waves are not regular waves. Evacuate.
This video shows how the walls being designed for a smaller event were so close and yet so far from being able to hold the water back.
This video shows just how long the intense shaking is for these “Great” earthquakes. Incredible footage

Borealis Meditation S04E02 Palu Earthquake and Tsunami

Well, we have our first event episode! This episode covers the earthquake and tsunami on September 28, 2018 that hit Palu Indonesia

Listen here:

I have lots and lots of additional information for this one.

Where: Sulawesi Island, 78km N of Palu city in Indonesia
When: Friday September 28, 2018 10:02 UTC
How Big: M 7.8
How Deep: 10.0 km depth

(figure from the second article listed)

USGS Event Page


Here is why earthquake magnitude is not what you think it is

Palu 2018 science and surprise behind the earthquake and tsunami

IRIS teachable moments slides

First hand account of the Ferry boat
Video from another boat

Video from the parking structure



animation of before and after satellite images of the area of liquefaction


(music used in this episode is podsafe and is Oceanis by David Miles Huber)

Borealis Meditation Podcast S02E07 Kai Altair, EQ Islands, Steno and Crater Lake

Aloha! A new episode is now available for your listening pleasure!

Download via itunes or listen here

This episode we have a featured musician! PLEASE help support this amazing artist!

I met Kai Altair at Burning Man and when I got home downloaded ALL of her music!
Check out her Website
Follow her on Twitter
Like her on Facebook
Get her music from…
Also check out her 

I told you I was going to post a lot of links!
Music: Mamma Ocean – Kai Altair

Pakistan Earthquake and Mud Volcano Island

Earth Observatory Photos and story (should be back up after the shutdown)

Blessed Nicolas Steno

Music: Shine – Kai Altair

Crater Lake: wiki 

Hoodoo: wiki

Music: Change – Kai Altair

I hope you enjoyed the episode!

you can…

Earthquakes 7/14 – 7/20

Earthquakes from 7/14 – time of publishing (7:45am UTC 7/21) from Magnitude 3 and up. Past week are yellow and earthquakes from yesterday are orange.

Totals for the last week:
M2.5+ 189
M5+ 28
M6+ 1 (140km S of Severo-Kuril’sk, Russia, M6.0 largest EQ of the last week)
M7+ 0

Some earthquakes in the news:
Earthquake hits Kashmir (M5.6  29km SW of Khorugh, Tajikistan 7/19/12 7:36:36)
Strong quake hits off east coast of New Zealand; no immediate reports of injuries or damage (M5.8 177km NE of Gisborne, New Zealand 2012-07-21 04:54:07)
Earthquake hits southern Victoria (M4.5 13km SW of Moe, Australia 2012-07-20 09:11:32)
Moderate earthquake hits Bulgaria; no injuries (M4.6 7km NNE of Pernik, Bulgaria 2012-07-14 12:52:07)

DID YOU FEEL ANY EQs THIS WEEK!? Make sure when you do you head on over to the USGS earthquakes page and fill out a “did you feel it?” report!

Borealis Meditation episode 11: Earthquakes, fossils and earth

Borealis Meditation Episode 11:
Listen here
download slides here
(I had trouble getting the IRIS and USGS slides to upload)
Download IRIS slides here
Download USGS slides here

Geology 101: Earthquakes, Japan Earthquake and Fossilization
(Pagan Community Fundraising Page – for Doctors Without Borders)
(Red Cross)
Music: none this time sorry 🙁
Weekly Update: earthquakes & volcanoes
Feature Mineral: not a mineral, fossils!
Elements: Earth
associations lists post

New contest for episode 12 & 13 post

Links for the Japan Earthquake:
USGS earthquake page technical information:

Tsunami warning page of the pacific current and past
March 11, 2011 Honshu tsunami propagation model video

Teachable moments

Technical information (sent out to the scientific community)with links to more

Harvard Seismology
Preliminary Rupture Modeling of the March 11, 2011 Tohoku-Chiho Taiheiyo-Oki Earthquake and Sequence of Events using the USArray Transportable Array

Science Insider: seismic waves in the US animation and article

Because I like good news even in the midst of bad:
The New York Times: Japan’s Strict Building Codes Saved Lives

The AGU Blogosphere
Blogs written by scientists about science hosted by one of the larger professional organizations. A good place to look around

Badass of the week:
Hideaki Akaiwa

Plus a more serious article about him from Forbes

Special Episode

Q&A episode:

Topic Christchurch Earthquakes:
please send me any questions about these earthquakes, earthquakes in general, seismology, anything related at all. The more questions I get the more info you get! Otherwise its just going to be facts about the earthquakes 😉 you know the stuff I find interesting.

I’ll post the questions here:
– What is liquefaction/how does it happen?
– aftershock sequences
– waves and how they are felt in different materials

Borealis Meditation Minisode! Fun things! Volcanoes and earthquakes!

Listen to me here!

Show notes:
Volcanoes are HOT!

Super awesome animation of arc volcanoes!
Super awesome sea floor volcanoes animation!
Hawaiian volcanoes being made! animation

Earthquakes? In Oklahoma? It’s more likely than you think.
New Theory of why mid-continent faults produce earthquakes

Calais, E., Freed, A.M., Van Arsdale, R., Stein, S., 2010, Triggering of New Madrid seismicity by late-pleistocene erosion, Nature 466, 608-611

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