Two Year Anniversary: Japan Tsunami

Today, March 11th, marks the two year anniversary of the worst earthquake and worst tsunami to ever impact Japan. The earthquake occurred 43 miles of the northeast coast of Japan and was 20 miles deep. This produced a 133ft tsunami that traveled 6 miles inland. Monumental property damage was sustained from both the quake and the tsunami, with thousands of lives lost. Despite Japan’s amazing response to the detection of the earthquake with prompted a tsunami alert live on TV within minutes of the quake, given the short distance it still wasn’t enough time. Here is a look at the tsunami alert which had estimated wave heights on screen within minutes of the first tremor. -Greg


Posted under earthquake/tsunami, science, weather geek

This post was written by qni_it on March 11, 2013

Earthquake shakes Southern Illinois

9:30pm – UPDATE:  According to the Chicago Tribune reportsthere was no reports of damage according to Illinois Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Patti Thompson. The largest earthquake reported in the state was a magnitude 5.4 in southern Illinois in 1968.

5:55pm – Within the past hour, an earthquake has been observed in Southern Illinois. An intial strength of 3.6 on the Richter Scale. The quake occurred at a depth of 7.3 miles below the surface. There are no reports of damage and it is unlikely to have caused major damage. Developing…

From USGS:

Earthquakes in the Illinois Basin – Ozark Dome Region

This large region borders the much more seismically active New Madrid seismic zone on the seismic zone's north and west. The Illinois basin – Ozark dome region covers parts of Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas and stretches from Indianapolis and St. Louis to Memphis. Moderately frequent earthquakes occur at irregular intervals throughout the region. The largest historical earthquake in the region (magnitude 5.4) damaged southern Illinois in 1968. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike somewhere in the region each decade or two, and smaller earthquakes are felt about once or twice a year. In addition, geologists have found evidence of eight or more prehistoric earthquakes over the last 25,000 years that were much larger than any observed historically in the region.

Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi).


Earthquakes everywhere occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. Most bedrock in the Illinois basin – Ozark dome region was formed as several generations of mountains rose and were eroded down again over the last billion or so years.

At well-studied plate boundaries like the San Andreas fault system in California, often scientists can determine the name of the specific fault that is responsible for an earthquake. In contrast, east of the Rocky Mountains this is rarely the case. The Illinois basin – Ozark dome region is far from the nearest plate boundaries, which are in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, and in the Gulf of California. The region is laced with known faults but numerous smaller or deeply buried faults remain undetected. Even the known faults are poorly located at earthquake depths. Accordingly, few earthquakes in the region can be linked to named faults. It is difficult to determine if a known fault is still active and could slip and cause an earthquake. As in most other areas east of the Rockies, the best guide to earthquake hazards in the Illinois basin – Ozark dome region is the earthquakes themselves.


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on November 20, 2012

Large earthquakes rock western North America

The USGS is reporting a M7.6 earthquake 100 miles east of Acapulco, Mexico within the past 30 minutes. At the same time, around 11am local time,  two moderate earthquakes (between 4 & 5 on the Richter Scale) were reported near San Diego, California according to NBC San Diego.

There are many small towns and cities in western Mexico that are very remote. Significant damage is expected from this large earthquake in western Mexico.

There are currently no tsunami warnings in effect. -ES


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on March 20, 2012

Monday Night Earthquake

A few of you might have felt a shake late last night as a minor earthquake shook parts of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.  It was registered as a 2.4-magnitude quake that happened just before 10 p.m. last night.

 At first the earthquake was said to be located in southern Wisconsin near Lake Shangrlia.  Now the USGS says the quake happened in McHenry County just 2 miles east of the city of McHenry.

 Very light shakes were reported inChicago, Marengo and inWoodstock.


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on January 31, 2012

Two earthquakes shake San Francisco Bay area today

Two different earthquakes shook residents of San Francisco today with one happening just moments ago. The quakes were centered near Berkeley. Temblors of this magnitude don’t generally cause significant damage. However having two earthquakes in one day could indeed cause some minor damage and cracks. A gas leak was reported with the quake that occurred shortly before 5:00pm CDT. There is no threat of a tsunami.

It is not known whether these two quakes are foreshocks of a larger earthquake to come. -ES


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on October 20, 2011

An amazing warning system

I would like to thank our Morning Director, Gus for sharing this video of a live broadcast on March 11th in Tokyo. If you remember, that is the date of Japan’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. What you see here is a live videocast of a parliament session interrupted by an automatic warning graphic. This is very similar to what pops up in the corner of your screen on WREX during severe weather events, but what is incredible is how quickly the information was disseminated. Although we cannot predict earthquakes, before the shaking even began on the mainland, folks had warning. Near the 3:30 point in the video, there were Tsunami warnings with forecast water heights soon to follow.

It is without a doubt that this incredibly quick warning system saved lives on a day that was very tragic for this country.


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on September 6, 2011

Live TV commercial recording captures Virginia quake

If you felt the earthquake around 1pm today, please click here to submit an official report.

Check out this video just uploaded to YouTube. A TV commercial was being recorded for a auto tire store during the 5.9 magnitude earthquake today. Note: Leathery, swivel chairs are not good protection for falling debris. -ES


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on August 23, 2011

Strong earthquake triggers Tsunami Warning for Hawaii

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake has struck off of the coast of New Zealand. Tsunami Warnings were issued in the Pacific and most recently a tsunami has been reported in the area of New Zealand of around 2.2 feet. Some coastal areas in Hawaii could see small, non-destructive sea level changes, strong and unusual currents lasting up to several hours starting at 4:08pm HST.


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on July 6, 2011

Earthquake rocks Japan, prompts tsunami warnings

A magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck northern Japan yesterday at about 4:50 Rockford time. As fears linger from the devastating quake and tsunami in March. According to the Associated Press, as of this morning, no injuries have been reported but some structural damage has been found through the northeast coast. A Tsunami Warning was issued for about an hour after the event, but was later canceled as no waves made it to shore. This earthquake likely occurred along the same fault as the March disaster as almost daily aftershocks have still been felt by residents.



Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on June 23, 2011

New quake, Fukushima’s #4 reactor catches fire, Disaster equal to Chernobyl now?

7:50pm – According to NHK, Japan will raise the crisis level to level 7, the worst on the nuclear disaster scale. The only other 7 on the list historically is the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Japan’s Nuclear Commission says the damaged facilities have been releasing a massive amount of radioactive substances, which are posing a threat to human health and the environment over a wide area.

The agency believes the cumulative amount from the Fukushima plant is less than that from Chernobyl.

7:29pm – Tokyo Electric Power Company says small fire at power plant has been extinguished.

6:55pm – There have been two strong aftershocks in Japan today, exactly one month to the day a M9.0 hit off of Sendai. The most recent occurred in the past hour near Honshu. There have been no reports of a tsunami as this post is published.

Today’s earthquakes struck closer to Tokyo causing the Narita International Airport to be closed because of possible cracks on runways and taxiways.

In addition, Reuters reported that a fire had broken out at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant near the #4 reactor. Within the past few minutes, there is no longer smoke or flames visible. Officials are checking to see if the fire is out but are not sure.



Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on April 11, 2011