NOVA: Japan’s Killer Quake

Last night Nova’s usual science show was replaced by a feature on “Japan’s Killer Quake”

In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a death toll likely in the tens of thousands, massive destruction of homes and businesses, shortages of water and power, and the specter of nuclear meltdown. With exclusive footage, NOVA captures the unfolding human drama and offers a clear-headed investigation of what triggered the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear crisis. Can science and technology ever prevent devastation in the face of overwhelmingly powerful forces of nature?

A few interesting points I grabbed:

– The earthquake warning systems have a cute, happy little catfish cartoon on the screen. (There is a myth that earthquakes are caused by the giant catfish, Namazu, who thrashes around when he is angry)
– Footage from a tourist walking in a park, showing the cracks in the path as they happen and the liquifaction pumping through
– The 30′ tsunami’s utter disregard for the 30′ tsunami walls was due to the fact that the earthquake first dropped the earth at least 1M in some places. In other words, Mother Nature laughed at the tsunami defenses
– Quakes normally last a minute at most. This one lasted five.
– Why is the primary cooling system for the reactors powered by the nuclear reactor itself, such that when the earthquake hit and the reactor was locked down, they had to go to their back up – which was then wiped out due to the earth sink that allowed the tsunami to do its
worse.
– a mountain river that usually flows to the sea was so overwhelmed by the tsunami that the monster created a shiny new salt water lake in the middle of the mountain village
– bodies are expected to wash in or be found in receding lake beds for months
– entire towns literally wiped out
– rescue workers looking for survivors/bodies also gather personal effects
– Scientists have learned and are learning so much from this quake and tsunami. It’s just a matter of time now before another quake hits Tokyo due to the stress shifts caused, and a matter of time before one hits the north american coast. One scientist commented that it will take 10 years for the US to prepare for anything close to what Japan has endured, and
more time still to surpass japns preparations. Um. Does cali even haev a tsunami wall?

BUZZ

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