Helping humankind live with the earth not against it

Category: introspective

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

thoughts about life

I am sitting in a sun beam listening to some podkin thinking about how this community is just so amazing and so welcoming and loving and how much I have been missing out on these long years I’ve been solitary. I kind of wanted to write about that a little bit today.

When I started on my path I was young and eager to learn about it. But my ADD took over and soon I just feel into a mostly spiritual and minimal ritual rut and got super excited about other things… music, history, and finally geology. I’ve never been part of a group, never wanted to be. I’ve never had a teacher and never felt ready for it. I’ve always been a very do it myself by myself kind of person. I’ve never been involved in the community online, I’ve always shopped at stores that are not “pagan” stores but places you can find things that work. I like herb shops, hardware stores, art stores… I take my tools from every day objects. Never been huge on spell crafting, but big on lighting a candle or placing some food out as an offering. I never thought to my self “WOW I can do magic to get what I want!” I have always thought you have to do it the hard way, there are no short cuts but asking for help will help me mentally and that goes a long way in helping.

I have always mixed my understanding of magic and metaphysics with the edges of science, the fuzzy areas, the places we don’t have answers. To me the edges of understanding will always be the realm of magic. There will always be edges to our understanding of the world, universe, physics…. even ourselves. And to me that is where magic lives and evolves. Yes I think magic by definition must evolve. When we can explain something with science it is no longer magic, the boundary has moved. The unknown is the place where legend and magic live, and where once the unknown was across the water, over there on the mountain… now it is the bottom of the sea and out into space. It has retreated to the corners again, its always been in the corners, the corners just move.

So back to talking about me, life and magic. I see magic in the earth I see magic in science when the models are completely wrong and the physics we thought was a work fails to predict what we can now measure. I think magic and creativity are closely related, and I think its magic when a scientist has the insight to say well lets look at this. Think of DNA! No one was looking for a double helix. Many other shapes were being looked at, but there wasn’t a test that would spit out a shape you could only test if it was a shape you thought of. Over beer the idea came up, lets look for a double helix and what do you know!? You can never explain why a double helix was thought it, it just floated up from the background and was there. An idea, a brilliant idea.

I have lived my life surrounding myself with magic of this kind. I have started to think maybe I should get my head out of the lab and come back to circle. That was have been what I was thinking when I downloaded my first pagan podcast, the wigglian way. I can’t remember why I thought to download it, I can’t even remember downloading it. Somehow it was on my ipod. And from there I downloaded Spirits Cast, and from there the number of pagan podcasts increased on my ipod. Where the spark that said “hey look for a pagan one” come from? I can’t explain.

Things happen for a reason though right? I am a pagan podcaster. A year ago I would have laughed yet here I am. Proud Pagan and about to get a masters. Maybe this next step into the unknown will land me face first into a group. Maybe it wont. But I’m along for the ride on this crazy thing we call life.

What this blog is about, for now…

Today is writing day for me! Processing data can get boring so I decided that every other day should be a day when I just write, even if not specifically on my thesis, just to get those writing juices flowing again!

What is this blog going to be about? Well, as a scientist I am trained to question everything. And I do. I am pagan, and one of the early draws was there is no one book that tells you what to think and how to act, and that fits my way I view the world. I am a do it myself, my way and then maybe I’ll listen to you kind of person, mostly because I believe thats the best way to learn, to get your hands dirty.

Sometimes I feeling the being pagan, and being a scientist are not the best match, but why the hell not!? So thats what this blog is going to be about, I love science and I love pagan thinking! So I will post little tid-bits of both!

take care!
Dusk (Monkey)
P.S. On the names thing… I accumulate them… Dusk has always been my “pagan” name and Monkey is a nickname that stuck. either one works and I will most likely switch between both depending on my mood!

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