Facts about the Japan quake and tsunami
- The energy radiated by Thursday’s earthquake is equal to one month’s worth of energy consumption in the United States, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientist Brian Atwater.
- The 8.9-magnitude temblor was nearly 8,000 times stronger than the one that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand, last month, and 700 times more powerful than the one that struck Haiti last year.
- Centered offshore, the temblor triggered a 23-foot tsunami and was followed by more than 125 aftershocks in the first 24 hours, many of them more than magnitude 6.0.
- The force of the quake was so strong that it appears to have moved Japan’s main island 8 feet to the east, said USGS geophysicist Ken Hudnut.
- The temblor sped up the Earth’s rotation by 1.6 microseconds, according to NASA, and shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy.
- The quake occurred in what is called a subduction zone, where one of the Earth’s tectonic plates is sliding beneath another. In this case, the Pacific plate is sliding beneath the North American plate at a rate of about 3 inches a year.
- Scientists say this quake, followed within minutes by tsunami waves 23 feet high or more, is almost identical to what the coast of the Pacific Northwest will see when the offshore fault called the Cascadia subduction zone ruptures. (please, no!!!!)
- Japanese public broadcaster NHK said 4 million buildings were without power in Tokyo and its suburbs immediately after the quake.
- Jefferies International, a global investment-banking group, estimated overall losses of about $10 billion in Japan.
(Facts Seattle Times / Photo BBC News)