Strong Earthquake Hits Near the Philippines

A strong earthquake hit tonight right off of the coast of Mindanao measuring to be 7.2. People have been advised to stay away form the coast as much as possible incase of more seismic activity and also incase of large waves that could inflict damage. So far there have been no immediate reports of severe damage or casualties, so hopefully it stays that way. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported that there was a huge risk for large waves that could extend out to 190 miles. The Philippines weren’t too concerned about this earthquake because due to their location around the ring of fire. The Philippines are used to getting large earthquakes every year so a 7.2 earthquake that hit off the coast, which didn’t inflict a lot of damage didn’t concern the authorities too much. They even decided against sending out a tsunami warning, believing it wasn’t necessary. The earthquake;s epicenter also was incredibly deep in the ocean, making it more difficult to feel the earthquake on land.


Double-TSUNAMI horror as Brits now at risk in Malaga and Marbella

This week Daily Star Online revealed shock figures that show Ibiza, Majorca, Minorca and Alicante are “most at risk” of a monster tsunami along the east coast.  But now we have learned that another earthquake could place the likes of Malaga – which includes Torremolinos and Fuengirola – and Marbella in danger in the south.  With 12 million Brits descending on sun-soaked Spain each year, holidaymakers across the popular region would have just 15 minutes to flee huge waves in the popular Costa hotspots.  But thousands may be able “to do nothing” with no tsunami detectors along the coast.  Despite being smaller than the threat in Costa Blanca, the potential Costa del Sol tsunami could still see relentless waves flooding popular resorts.  This latest discovery comes in a report by Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, which details what would happen in the event of a sea earthquake.  A tsunami along the southern coast of Spain would be caused by a quake striking in the Alboran Sea, north-east of Morocco, which is being squeezed between the Iberian and African plates.  The pressure caused would lead to a fault – the surface cracking – and trigger an earthquake, placing the entire Costa Del Sol in the firing line.  The report states most the region would face a danger level of two out of five.  This means there is a “severe land threat with maximum wave elevations”, according to the documents.  “In this area, especially on the coast of Granada, maximum wave elevations can locally exceed 1m,” the report states.  It details that the areas of Malaga and Granada would face a “land threat” with around one metre waves, while Algeria would face a “marine threat” with 0.5 metre waves.  But the report concludes an earthquake in northern Algeria, which threatens the eastern coast of Spain and Balearic Islands, holds a much higher risk.  “In general the Northern Algerian sources pose a greater risk to the Spanish coast than the Albertan Sea sources,” it states.  “Strike-slip faults of the Albertan basin, the Carboneras and Yusuf faults, do not have a high potential to generate destructive tsunamis, although they could generate tsunamis affecting the coast infrastructure with a short travel time, less than 4 min.”  Because of this, the documents state: “The province of Almeria (south east of Spain) is at a high risk of being affected by a tsunami because it can be reached by vitally all sources of the Albertan Sea and the North West of Algeria, although with a low threat level.”

Geospatial data and analysis for disaster relief

This post is an excerpt from Geospatial Data and Analysis, by Aurelia Moser, Jon Bruner, and Bill Day. If you click on the link below, it will take you to the post, but it also has a link to read more from this book and contains some really cool and useful information!

This post talks more about the recovery process of disasters and how technology has advanced to allow disaster relief agencies to use geospatial data that goes down to the level of individuals, as well as maps showing key infrastructure and up-to-date damage assessments created on the fly, in order to manage response efforts. Ten years ago, geospatial data was not rich enough to map these real-time movements of people and resources, but now that smart phones are ubiquitous around the world, this is something that is available and is being used very heavily in recent disasters.

A few examples are mentioned in the post about how drones are being used more and more and that their videos can be transformed into 3D models. Skycatch is the main industry behind this development. It originally sold this transforming software to construction companies working on very large projects, but it ended up joining the relief effort following the Nepal earthquake in 2015. “Data from the drones was used to identify damaged buildings, map paths for heavy equipment, and plan for the restoration of heritage sites.”

These are just a few of many advancements in technology we have made (and an idea of what else we can do with this technology) with regards to enhancing the relief and recovery processes following disasters and catastrophes.


Japanese Government Found Liable for Fukushima

The Maebashi District Court said the nuclear incident was “preventable,” arguing the government should have been more forceful in making TEPCO take precautionary measures. The court also blasted TEPCO as too financially motivated, at the expense of human safety.

“It was extremely significant that [a court] has acknowledged the responsibility of the state,” counsel for the plaintiffs, who were awarded 38.55 million yen between 137 people, said in a statement.

The 2011 meltdown was part of the broader disaster of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, which claimed more than 15,000 lives. The quake measured a massive 9.0 on the Richter scale, the largest recorded earthquake ever to hit Japan.

For the rest of the article: 

Quake hits off Japan’s Fukushima, no tsunami risk

AFP | Updated: Feb 28, 2017, 02.42 PM IST


(Image courtesy: Google Maps)(Image courtesy: Google Maps)

TOKYO: A 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday struck northeastern Japan near the disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear plant but there was no fear of a tsunami, Japanese and US authorities said.

The quake struck at a depth of 42.3 kilometres (26 miles) in the Pacific Ocean 34 kilometres east-northeast of the town of Namie, the US Geological Survey said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said there was no risk of a tsunami from the quake, which caused some swaying in high-rise buildings in Tokyo.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries though some local service train services stopped, public broadcaster NHK reported.
Tokyo Electric Power, operator of the Fukushima plant, said no abnormalities were detected.A massive undersea quake on March 11, 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into the northeast coast, leaving more than 18,500 people dead or missing and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

In November a powerful 6.9-magnitude quake sparked panic and triggered a one-metre (three-foot) tsunami that washed ashore at the Fukushima plant but caused no damage.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year.

With Japan being a very seismically active place, It would seem Japan is accustomed to earthquakes that occur frequently, as those in California and other west coast United States places. Little damage may occur as building codes are designed to harden  structures from earthquake damage. I can also imagine that the catastrophe that occurred in 2011 is probably also in people’s minds. I can’t imagine a total recovery occurred from 2011 when thousands were killed and the significant catastrophic infrastructure  and property damage and probably wouldn’t be finished for sometime.  Between the Japanese being accustomed to earthquakes, some of which are violent, and the fact that they are a More Developed Country, they are more readily able to recover from the 2011 catastrophe. Granted, these was probably a significant influx of aid and assistance from the rest of the world.



On March 11, 2011, the magnitude 9.0 Great Tōhoku Earthquake struck Honshu, the main island of Japan at 2:46 pm local time. The epicenter was 30 km deep, located off of the coast. It was the largest earthquake ever to hit Japan and the fourth largest earthquake on record. a rupture occurred at the convergent fault boundary in the Japan Trench and a 300 km long by 150 km wide section of the subduction zone slipped as much as 50 meters, the largest fault slip ever recorded. The Tōhoku region in northeast Honshu experienced violent shaking for six minutes and was shifted east by 2.4 meters. Scientists believe that clay helped lubricate the fault to create such extreme movement because it holds water and becomes slick, removing friction from the plate collision. There is a deep layer of clay on the Pacific plate and as it subducts beneath the North American plate a thin layer is scraped off, leaving an accretionary wedge of clay coating the boundary. Low-frequency infrasound waves generated by the earthquake were even detected 255 km above the earth in space by a satellite.

A colossal tsunami followed the quake caused by a combination of upward thrusting of the seafloor from the earthquake and a submarine mass movement event. Remnants of a 40 km by 20 km rotational slump were observed on the slope of the Japan Trench. Waves as high as 38 meters moved as fast as a jet plane, 700 km/hr and flooded the island up to 10 km inland. The tsunami had record run-up recordings at 38.8 meters above sea level. Abnormally large waved were documented all across the Pacific from the west coast of North America and South America to Russia. Also satellite imagery showed that the waves contributed to Antarctic glacier calving. [youtube][/youtube] [youtube][/youtube]

Japan is no stranger to earthquakes and tsunamis because it is located near multiple late boundaries on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The nation experiences one fifth of the world’s powerful quakes and the word tsunami itself is Japanese. Japan is extremely prepared for these hazards and has heavily invested in preparedness and mitigation plans. Over 1000 seismographs and hundreds of tide sensors are scattered around the islands comprising the world’s most advanced early-warning system. Alerts are sent out automatically over every medium of communication including personal cell phones and loudspeaker systems. Japan has built many hard structures along the coasts such as tsunami walls, flood gates and breakwaters. Building codes are strict and constantly updated with continuous research and assessment on building safety and design. Tall buildings are designed to sway and are set on deep foundations, many supported with shock absorbers. Concrete structures are built with a steel frame to give them ductility to be more resilient to a lateral load. Disaster shelters are prepared in case of emergency and some public spaces in cities are constructed with a secondary purpose as refuge zones. These spaces are cleverly designed as permanent installations ready to house and sustain people at a moment’s notice with underground food and water reserves and innovations such as solar-powered charging stations and benches that turn into stoves for cooking. Disaster preparedness is deeply ingrained into society and has become part of Japanese culture. People constantly practice intensive drills and receive briefings on potential hazards from the time they begin school.

Japan is one of, if not the most prepared nation in the world for these types of hazards. The population is also not considered vulnerable in a country with the third largest GDP in the world that is known for its technological innovation and advancements. Japan can handle earthquakes that would cause considerable damage elsewhere and regularly experiences quakes with a magnitude between 4.0 – 5.0. However, the 2011 “trifecta of tragedy”, earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear accident was the perfect storm. Like the swiss cheese activity in class, everything lined up perfectly to make this one of the worst disasters in history. The death toll as of April 2015 is 15,890, another 2,590 people were reported as missing and presumed dead and 6,152 injuries were recorded. An overwhelming majority of the deaths and injuries were due to the tsunami. Hundreds of thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed, over 25 million tons of debris was generated in the 3 worst affected prefectures and hundreds of fires were started from broken electric and gas lines. The damage has cost Japan $300 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in history. Considerable economic losses were suffered by other countries around the pacific as well. Response efforts were divided among all departments of the Japanese government who were immediately mobilized and dispatched. Despite their organization, no amount of preparation and prior planning could have anticipated the 2011 catastrophe. Transporting supplies was impeded by the damage to roads and infrastructure and contributed to the physical and psychological distress of refugees. Flooded areas did not drain naturally due to subsidence of the land from the quake. Floodwall failure and standing water further hindered supply distribution and posed an obstacle for search and rescue. Certain areas were only accessible by helicopter for 2 weeks. The combined loss of power from the Fukushima coast, one of Japan’s largest single electric source regions and the shut off of the island’s other reactors caused additional setbacks to emergency response efforts.


A “state of nuclear emergency” was declared because the tsunami also caused the world’s first triple nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency gave the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster a 7 rating on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, the highest rating and the same as the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. 140,000 people who lived within 20 km of the Fukushima reactors were evacuated and many are still displaced. Radiation continues to leak from the reactors and irradiated water is still being released into the ocean. TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co.) has been unable to remove hundreds of dangerous fuel rods as the clean up process moves into its fourth year. Japan had relied on nuclear power for 30% of its electricity supply prior to the Fukushima accident but most of the 54 reactors in the country have not been reopened. The loss of this power source has contributed to a national energy crisis as Japan has little fossil fuel reserves and now depends on imports for 80-90% of its energy. The psychological effects of the disaster have had a large burden on Japanese society, with a spike in PTSD, depression and suicide rates among people living in the most impacted regions.

I chose this disaster because I find it incredibly fascinating and it has had such monumental consequences that are still being felt and dealt with today. The earthquake and tsunami struck when I was finishing up my senior year of high school so I remember how much it was covered by the news. I am also very interested in the Fukushima nuclear disaster and I have done a lot of research on it but not so much into the actual natural disaster that caused it.

Magnitude 7.5 Earthquake Strikes off the Coast of Papua New Guinea; Tsunami Alert Issued

On Monday morning local time (Sunday night in the U.S.) , a 7.5 magnitude earthquake stuck 34 miles southeast of Kokopo, Papua New Guinea. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the earthquake’s magnitude as a 7.7 with a depth of 25 miles. Shortly after the earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was a potential tsunami threat of dangerous waves possible within a span of 621 miles along the coasts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. However, this threat has since past since the earthquake hit on Monday. A Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Center official said there have been no damage or injuries reported in result of the earthquake. However, after the initial tremor 13 aftershocks have been reported in the nearby areas, ranging from 4.6 to 5.7 in magnitude.


(Kokopo is located south east of Rabaul, New Britian on map)th




Japan building a 40 foot sea wall

In response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Japan is building a 40 foot tall sea wall to protect against tsunamis. However, the wave height of the 2011 tsunami was 50 feet. So, if a repeat event were to happen, the new sea wall wouldn’t do any good. The wall will be 250 miles long and will be constructed as a chain of seawalls, at a price of $6.8 billion. The wall is disrupt wildlife in the region and will block views of the ocean, lowering property values along the coast. Although not addressed in the article, the seawall will probably also have an impact on beach erosion. Do you think the costs of this project outweigh the potential good?

6.7 Earthquake Off the Coast of Japan

On February 20th, at 8:06am local time, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Iwate prefecture, about 50 miles NE of Miyako, Japan. The quake promoted a tsunami alert. The alert was cancelled soon after it was initiated, because waves that reached the shore were only about 8 inches in height. Even thought the threatened tsunami did not materialize, residents were about to seek higher ground because of advanced notification of the hazard.

Quake Map of Japan

Malawi Flood

Over the past month there has been such heavy rain in Malawi, that flooding has displaced upwards of 150,00 people and killing roughly 170. The flood waters (reaching in some areas up to 6ft), have cut off the southern tip of the nation leaving thousands destitute and caused massive damage to roads, infrastructure, agriculture, homes and power facilities alike, causing a prolonged recovery.  The current flooding is due to tropical cyclone, Bansi and is only to be worsened by the impending arrival of Tropical Cyclone, Chedza. Humanitarian-aid group, Doctors without borders, have commented on the floodwaters noting they are acting as a “slow tsunami” where rivers continue to swell downstream towards other African nations. Other non-governmental humanitarian aid groups have  commented on the potential threat of a cholera outbreak, which is always present with a lack of access to clean drinking water and sewage – contaminated drinking water. In a developing country this story really brings up the questions we briefly discussed in class, that is should international aid be brought in or should the nation be allowed to rehabilitate with domestic means? Is that even plausible in this situation?


Floodwater rushes through township near Malawi capital Blantyre

Floodwater rushes through township near Malawi capital Blantyre

Smith-Spark, Laura. “Malawi: Deadly Floods Menace Tens of Thousands –” CNN. Cable News Network, 18 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2015.