Archive for ‘Floods and Natural Disasters’

May 15, 2011

Two Earthquakes at M6 and M6.2 respectively shake Fukushima and Costa Rica on Friday 13th May 2011

[Daiwai Kumushi, Japan News Contributor]

United States Geological Survey reports around 17 category M5 earthquakes struck the world in the past few days with two of them at M6 in Japan’s Honshu region (area of Fukushima) and Costa Rica respectively – see the chart below for details.

M5-M6 category earthquakes are serious and can be viewed in context of the recent M6.3 earthquake which devastated Christchurch, New Zealand recently.  No damage, or injury reports from the events are available.

A list of M5/M6 earthquakes happening in the world in the past few days appears below as reported by USGS.

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May 11, 2011

Spain suffers major earthquake – 4 dead, buildings damaged

[Natural Disasters Contributor, Josh Winters]

US Geological Survey reports that a total of 12 earthquakes at magnitude 5+ struck the world today with  Spain suffering an M5.3 event which killed 4 people and damaged many buildings in Lorca in the south. The earthquake was at a depth of a mere 1km and around 120km south-west of Alicante. It happened at around 5PM GMT.  Whilst earthquakes trouble Spain, they do not normally cause casualties and such damage.

In the meantime, the Honshu region of Japan, home of the Fukushima Prefecture, a M5.6 earthquake struck early today. No damage, or tsunami warning has been reported.

Here are a list of the other M5+ level earthquakes striking the earth today (data from the US Geological Survey):-

MAG UTC DATE-TIME
y/m/d h:m:s
LAT
deg
LON
deg
DEPTH
km
 Region
MAP  5.3   2011/05/11 16:47:26   37.697   -1.556 1.0  SPAIN
MAP  5.0   2011/05/11 15:59:11  -17.331  -172.676 29.6  TONGA REGION
MAP  5.0   2011/05/11 15:21:26   -6.544   147.806 47.7  EASTERN NEW GUINEA REG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
MAP  5.0   2011/05/11 10:39:39  -20.395   168.330 37.2  LOYALTY ISLANDS
MAP  5.1   2011/05/11 10:32:26  -20.399   168.410 44.9  LOYALTY ISLANDS
MAP  5.1   2011/05/11 09:21:37  -20.348   168.345 38.7  LOYALTY ISLANDS
MAP  5.2   2011/05/11 09:16:26  -20.294   168.267 37.9  LOYALTY ISLANDS
MAP  5.7   2011/05/11 08:19:39  -20.392   168.320 45.6  LOYALTY ISLANDS
MAP  5.1   2011/05/11 07:54:31   1.518   127.239 99.2  HALMAHERA, INDONESIA
MAP  5.3   2011/05/11 06:11:28  -36.385  -179.565 42.6  EAST OF THE NORTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND
MAP  5.0   2011/05/11 01:28:08   6.067   126.002 104.8  MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES
MAP  5.6   2011/05/11 01:20:08   37.811   143.561 25.1  OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
May 4, 2011

Chernobyl revisited – Russia calls for new nuclear safety rules worldwide

[Valentin Pleschuk, Russia News Contributor]

BBC News: Following the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has called upon the international community to adopt a new set of international nuclear safety rules.

For the first time since 1986 when the disaster broke out, a Russian leader actually visited the devastated and highly contaminated area. The commemoration ceremony at the foot of the crippled plant was also attended by the president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich.

The proposal came amid massive protests in Germany, France and a number of eastern European states against the use of nuclear power in the context of the worldwide radiation spread threat from the now infamous Fukushima plant.

Today, I sent proposals to [world] leaders… aimed at guaranteeing the necessary development of nuclear energy in the world while preventing at the same time catastrophic global consequences [of accidents]…..in order for such tragedies never to be repeated we must all be honest, we must provide absolutely exact information about what is going on.”” Mr Medvedev said. 

Although the full content of the proposals is unknown, one of the conditions of the programme, accentuated by Mr. Medvedev publicly, is enhanced openness and speedy information exchange between world governments and the population, as well as between countries’ governments themselves.

The ceremony was held in absence of Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus which was most grievously affected by the Chernobyl disaster, after being suggested as an unwelcome guest at the Chernobyl conference, by the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

April 30, 2011

Two hundred and thirty nine earthquakes struck the world today with most intense (M4-M6) in Japan and South America

[Edwin Crowel, Natural Disaster Contributor]

According to the US Geological Survey, two hundred and thirty nine earthquakes shook the world on Saturday 30th April 2011.

The most intense of them, between M4 and M6 – indicated in blue on the picture, struck Japan, the Pacific area, the USA and South America. No tsunamis, or damage reports have yet been made.

Earthquake in Japan

In the past few days, Japan was struck by more than 12 earthquakes at intensity M4-M5. Most occurred in proximity of the Fukushima prefecture. The area, and Japan in particular are notoriously unstable parts of the world for earthquakes which strike on more, or less, a daily basis – some earthquakes being more intense than others.

Analysts are commenting that having regard to Japan’s geological instability, it was a supreme act of recklessness for the nuclear facility in Fukushima with its known vulnerabilities to this kind of natural disaster, to have ever been commissioned.

April 30, 2011

Twister sisters in USA’s southeast take 300 lives and devastate region

[Peter Kinsley, Natural Disaster News Contributor]

Huffington Post: The tornadoes that wreaked havoc across southeast USA last week have caused the USA’s ‘deadliest twister disaster in nearly 40 years’.

The twisters took close to three hundred lives and turned vast, densely populated territories in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina states into disaster zones.

Joshua Wurman, one of the world’s leading weather disaster experts and president of the Center for Severe Weather Research is reported to have said: “In my career I have never seen this many tornadoes or this many fatalities”.

April 2011 has broken all previous records so far: six hundred tornadoes of different magnitude have swept over the planet, thrice the amount of the so far windiest April of 1974 which brought 267 twisters. The surge is so great that scientists are wondering whether climate change might be the reason.

A 2008 report from the U.S. Global Change and Research Program, a federal inter-agency project under the supervision of  the White House, found that increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could lead to an increase in severe storm conditions that make tornadoes possible. However, opinions vary  whether climate change is the culprit behind the USA’s current extreme weather conditions.

According to Howard Bluestein, meteorology professor at Oklahoma University. “This is something that happens every 10 or 20 years when everything comes together like this. This is just natural variability.”

April 28, 2011

For ‘rocking’ Japan, its business as usual as 7 earthquakes at M4.4 to M5.8 strike in the past two days

[Jana Tinaki, Earthquake Japan Contributor]

The US Geological Survey reports that the following earthquakes struck Japan over the past two days. No damage, or Tsunami has been reported.

In the preceding Easter holiday weekend, Japan had been struck by not less than 9 earthquakes of the same magnitude.

MAG     UTC DATE-TIME          LAT          LON          DEPTH    REGION

4.6     2011/04/28 14:04:41        37.237     142.658      30.4       OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
5.8     2011/04/28 09:27:48        37.492     141.652      48.9       NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
4.9     2011/04/28 01:44:46        38.663     141.789      35.8       NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
4.9     2011/04/28 00:02:25        36.787     142.501      34.1       OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
5.1     2011/04/27 21:45:03        38.170     141.778      53.3       NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
5.1     2011/04/27 21:42:50        36.738     142.685      31.9       OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
4.9     2011/04/27 16:03:29        26.685     143.680      10.0       BONIN ISLANDS

April 27, 2011

Japan is heaving as nine M4 – M5 earthquakes strike over the easter holiday weekend

[John Goldman, Natural Disaster News Contributor]

By all accounts, it would seem that Japan is the unsafest place in the world for any nuclear facility as according to the United States Geological Survey, not less than 9 earthquakes at M4 to M5 struck it over the bank holiday weekend.

Earthquakes off the East coast of Honshu (116 km north east of Fukushima)

M4.6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 18:03:28 UTC
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 04:03:28 AM at epicenterDepth: 37.50 km (23.30 mi)

M4.6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 16:02:07 UTC
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 02:02:07 AM at epicenter
Depth: 35.00 km (21.75 mi)0

M4.6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 15:58:57 UTC
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 01:58:57 AM at epicenter
Depth: 10.00 km (6.21 mi)

M4.6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:26:54 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 09:26:54 PM at epicenter
Depth: 54.60 km (33.93 mi)

M5.0

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:12:00 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 09:12:00 PM at epicenter
Depth: 51.70 km (32.12 mi)

M4.9

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:03:04 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 08:03:04 PM at epicenter
Depth: 20.40 km (12.68 mi)

M4.9

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 04:01:52 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 01:01:52 PM at epicenter
Depth: 34.90 km (21.69 mi)

Earthquake in Hokkaido, (823 km from Fukushima)

M 4.8

Monday, April 25, 2011 23:26:34 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 08:26:34 AM at epicenter
Depth: 61.70 km (38.34 mi)[Japan News Contributor]

April 25, 2011

Should we go bananas about Fukushima?

[Joshua Kimoto, Japan News Contributor]

The New York Times: Since Fukushima, many of us have become more and more concerned about radioactive elements in our food.  As a result, New York Times spoke to scientists about radiation and food safety with surprising results.

It seems that every day we take in radioactive materials from all our food – from water, milk, through to fruit.  As far as fruit is concerned, it seems that the humble banana is the most potent source of radioactive contamination for our bodies.

The banana contains the more radioactive potassium than can be found in any other fruit. This substance after ingestion, stays in our bodies more or less permanently and irradiates them constantly.  Brazil nuts too, have radium which, according to scientists, is ‘off the wall’.

But should we eat food contaminated with radioactive iodine and cesium, like that contaminated by the Fukushima plant ongoing catastrophe? Scientists are saying that we should steer clear of them although there may not be much risk from food not heavily contaminated.

So, next time you reach for your daily banana, or have the urge to munch your favourite nuts, have a Geiger counter handy and check out the ‘heat’. If the banana reads ‘hot’, you know what to do!

April 22, 2011

Post Fukushima, earthquakes continue to rock Japan daily

[Akito Sikomoto, Japan News Contributor]

According to Earthquake Report, Japan continues to be in geological upheaval with an almost daily routine of M4 to M6 earthquakes. In that regard, it would seem that a country with such a negative track record for this kind of regular geological upheavals should never have been considered a safe place for a nuclear facility with some of the most powerful reactors on earth.

Here is our review of earthquake happenings in the country over the past two days as reported by the major earthquake reporting agencies.

Earthquake report summary for today April 22nd 2011

Japan experienced another M5.6 aftershock at 1.13 am local time. Areas affected were Miyagi-ken Nambu, Fukushima-ken Nakadori, Fukushima-ken Hamadori.  No damage has been reported.

Also today, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency,(‘JMA‘) an intensity 5 earthquake struck the area of Chiba-ken Toho-oki.  The US Geological Survey (‘USGS‘) also reported a M6.1 earthquake at a depth of 42.9km 64 km from Tokyo.

Earthquakes report summary for April 21st 2011

Around NINE M4- M6.1 earthquakes/ aftershock events, according to the JMA and USGS, stuck the east coast of Honshu, Japan – no damage so far has been reported.

April 21, 2011

Fukushima plant operators facing huge domestic and foreign compensation claims

[Akito Sikomoto, Japan News contributor]

Fukushima Plant Operator to Compensate Residents

According to RT.COM, the Fukushima plant operator, TEPCO, is making compensation payments of up to $12,000 to each of the the 50,000 or so families living in the 30km evacuation area around the crippled nuclear facility. It also plans to disperse a radiation-absorbing substance on the facility’s coastline.

The total amounts to be given in compensation to the families are still under review, but is likely to be to the tune of millions. The majority of those who had to feel the troubled zone are still living in emergency centres and have lost their employment as a result.

RT.COM – Highly Toxic Radioactive Material still being dumped into the sea at ‘catastrophic’ levels – compensation claims likely

TEPCO reports that in six days of this month, more that 20,000 times the allowable limit of radioactive matter has been dumped into the sea from the damaged plant amounting to more than 520 tonnes of toxic radioactive water.

As the toxic sea-borne contamination from Japan has reached countries as far away as Germany and Ireland and is likely to cause incalculable damage to the Pacific Ocean‘s sea life, analysts are saying those sovereign nations that are already affected by the toxic waste reaching their shores – USA, Malaysi, Thailand, UK – are taking legal advice in respect to taking legal action against Japan for the contamination as this increases. If this happens, it is feared, due to possible size of the compensation claims, it is likely that Japan will cease to exist as a country.