Dual earthquakes rock Japan, Mexico

10:00AM –

A Magnitude 7.4 earthquake hits Japan. The shaking appears to have originated in roughly the same location as the devastating earthquake that killed thousands in March. Tsunami warnings that were originally in effect for the Alaska coast have been allowed to expire as there is no danger to any U.S. coastline.


A magnitude-6.7 earthquake shook a wide swath of southern and central Mexico on Thursday, prompting people to flee into the streets in the country’s capital.

The epicenter was located near the town of Las Choapas and about 370 miles (600 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

The temblor was felt strongly in Chiapas, a state bordering Guatemala.

There were no initial reports of damage or injuries.


Courtesy: The Associated Press


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on April 7, 2011

Incredible new video of Japan tsunami

This video was passed along to me from former WREX Meteorologist Gilbert Sebenste. This is Oirase Town, Japan, in the Aomori Prefecture from the March 11th earthquake/tsunami. Gilbert reports that the videographer “survived, one of the few in the town who did, on a tsunami evacuation ladder. The breakers in the town were 10 meters high; it was supposed to be impenetrable.”

Because the video is not able to be embedded (because of the language difference), click on the YouTube image and you’ll be redirected. 

Now check out the before and after pictures of this town. Obviously the levee walls, some 30 feet tall, were no match to the mountain of water.


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on March 25, 2011

Did a “supermoon” contribute to the earthquake?

I, along with a couple other colleagues, have heard about the “supermoon” internet sensation that blames a solar anomaly for the disaster in Japan. Here is a little background. This Saturday’s full moon will be bigger and brighter than usual as the moon makes its closest pass in about 18 years. Since the moon has a small gravitational pull, as it rotates around the earth high and low tide happens. The theory circulating around the web states that this shortened distance between celestial bodies has shifted plates in the earth and essentially caused the seismic activity responsible for the devastation in Japan.

When looking at this idea, it is wise to crunch the numbers. The moon is about 238,000 miles away from the earth on average. On this close pass, our nearest neighbor in space will be about 221,500 miles away. This relatively small distance is negligible at best as the moon doesn’t have much gravitational pull to begin with! When observing the moon, its bigger size will also be hard to detect as this distance is about 7% closer than the average distance.

To learn more about this, check out the article on Space.com




Posted under earthquake/tsunami, space

This post was written by qni_it on March 16, 2011

Japan quake upgraded to M9.0

The USGS has just upgraded Friday’s Japan earthquake from an M8.9 to a M9.0.

See how this compares to previous strong earthquakes by clicking here. It seems incomprehensible that three of the biggest earthquake have occurred since 2004! -ES


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on March 14, 2011

Before and After Earthquake/Tsunami

These satellite pictures show the true destruction of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.  When you go to the site below, slide the bar all the way to the right to see the before photo and then slide the bar to the left for the after. 



Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on March 13, 2011

Incredible tsunami video


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on March 11, 2011

Historic earthquake/tsunami rocks Japan; threatens US



Noon – Although the Tsunami Warning continues for Hawaii, the threat of inundation is decreasing rapidly. Sea rises are still occurring along the west coast of the lower 48. Also in Japan, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Facility is reportedly in a state of emergency as the cooling system has partially failed after the quake.

10:50am– Marinas all along the west coast are seeing damage as waves make their way to the coast. KCRA reports hundreds of boats damaged or capsized. Since water weighs around 1,700 pounds per square yard, it doesn’t take much to do a good deal of damage. Waves are forecast to continue to pound the coast for a few more hours to come as energy from the quake continues to spread through the Pacific ocean.


9:50am – A bit of encouraging news as I continue to monitor the several news sources. As of right now, surges of no more than 5 feet have been reported from small pacific islands and buoys as higher water approaches the west coast. In Japan, the scope of damage continues to be revealed:

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies have been found in a northeastern coastal area where a massive earthquake spawned a tsunami.
The bodies were found in Sendai city, the closest major city to the epicenter. The magnitude 8.9 quake and 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami were followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0.


9:15am – Many residents flee seaside neighborhoods in San Francisco as Tsunami Warnings continue. Further coverage continues at NBC Bay Area.


8:50am – surges continue in Hawaii with a period of relative calm for about 15 minutes before the next sea rise is observed. Tsunami Warnings will likely remain in place as these waves continue as they may feed off each other and grow in size. We are still waiting for sea rises on the west coast of the continental US.


8:20am –A 6 foot surge has been reported in Kahului Harbor, HI


8:05am LIVE STREAMING VIDEO from KGW in Portland as we continue to follow Tsunami Warnings for the entire US west coast.


7:35amHere are the latest forecast arrival times that include the US west coast


7:30am- LIVE Streaming video from KHON in Hawaii


7:25am – Reuters is now calling the earthquake the 5th strongest in the world within the past 100 years. Click here for a forecast energy map that shows where the resulting tsunami’s wave will head. Notice the increased energy toward the coastlines. As the wave propagates near land, any wave will quickly become bigger.

6:55am – Tsunami Warnings are in effect for Hawaii and the entire west coast of the continental US this morning. After the initial quake struck Japan, several waves continue to propagate through the Pacific ocean this morning. The threat does exist for a destructive surge of water to head for the coast at some point this morning.



6:00am- TOKYO (AP) – TOKYO (AP) – A powerful tsunami spawned by the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history slammed the eastern coast Friday, sweeping away boats, cars, homes and people as widespread fires burned out of control. Tsunami warnings blanketed the entire Pacific, as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.

Authorities said at least 32 people were killed. The magnitude 8.9 offshore quake was followed by at least 19 aftershocks, most of them of more than magnitude 6.0. Dozens of cities and villages along a 1,300-mile (2,100-kilometer) stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of miles (kilometers) from the epicenter.

A utility company in northeastern Japan reported a fire in a turbine building of nuclear power plant.

“The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.

Even for a country used to earthquakes, this one was of horrific proportions. It unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland.

Large fishing boats and other sea vessels rode high waves into the cities, slamming against overpasses. Upturned and partially submerged vehicles were seen bobbing in the water.

Waves of muddy waters swept over farmland near the city of Sendai, carrying buildings, some on fire, inland as cars attempted to drive away. Sendai airport, north of Tokyo, was inundated with cars, trucks, buses and thick mud deposited over its runways. Fires spread through a section of the city, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The tsunami roared over embankments, washing anything in its path inland before reversing directions and carrying the cars, homes and other debris out to sea. Flames shot from some of the houses, probably because of burst gas pipes.

“Our initial assessment indicates that there has already been enormous damage,” Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano said. “We will make maximum relief effort based on that assessment.”

He said the Defense Ministry was sending troops to the quake-hit region. A utility aircraft and several helicopters were on the way.

A large fire erupted at the Cosmo oil refinery in Ichihara city in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo and was burning out of control with 100-foot (30 meter) -high flames whipping into the sky.

In northeastern Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, a fire broke out in a turbine building of a nuclear power plant. Smoke was observed coming out of the building, which is separate from the plant’s reactor, and the cause is under investigation, said Tohoku Electric Power Co. the company said.

There have been no reports of radioactive leaks or injuries, the company said. Several nuclear plants elsewhere along the coast were also partially shut down, with no reports of leakage.

Also from Miyagi prefecture, NHK showed footage of a large ship being swept away and ramming directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 2:46 p.m. quake was a magnitude 8.9, the biggest earthquake to hit Japan since officials began keeping records in the late 1800s.


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on March 11, 2011

Three earthquakes rock Mt. St. Helens


A series of earthquakes hit the Mt. St. Helens area early this morning starting with the strongest registering at a 4.3 on the Richter Scale at 10:35 a.m local time. It was then followed by a 2.5 and a 2.3 magnitude quake that hit about 6-7 miles north-northwest of the volcano.
The quakes occurred in the St. Helens seismic zone, which consists of several tectonic faults that run underneath the volcano.   The seismology lab at the University of Washington recorded the quake and saw no signs of volcanic activity. The quakes could have been a change in the stress field around the volcano.


Posted under earthquake/tsunami

This post was written by qni_it on February 14, 2011

Guest Blog: Haiti earthquake anniversary

This guest blog was written by Mike Sorensen, my brother, who volunteered there with his wife Kristy during the aftermath of the Haiti Earthquake. When he arrived back in Illinois, he told stories of shear heartbreak and sorrow. However with the help of organizations like the University of Chicago, Love a Child, and Missionary Flights there is hope one year later.-ES

On the one year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake many of the disaster relief workers look back at the progress over the last year and are heartbroken that more has not been done to aid the people of Haiti.  While we were able to quickly help save people from life threatening medical issues, provide temporary shelter and even restart the flow of much needed food, the long term issues of sustainability are still unmet.  Everyone who participated in the initial relief efforts wishes that they could have done and could continue to do more to help the people of Haiti.  Many are still volunteering their own personal time, energy and donations to this very worthwhile cause.

When the earthquake occurred, we had a sense of extreme urgency to get our teams ready, determine the right supplies to take and figure out how to get there and get going.  Once on the ground in Haiti, there was an overwhelming amount of activity and things to do.  Treat the injured, find shelter for staff and patients, get food for people who hadn’t eaten in a week, dig latrines for sanitation, find sources of fresh water, figure out how to get electricity to provide medical service 24×7 and find time to get rest.  The activity and the pace was extreme, busloads of injured arriving all hours of the day, helicopters coming in and out from the US Navy USNS Comfort hospital ship and new issues to deal with daily .  Everything was in short supply and needed urgently, you made due with whatever was available.  One of the most satisfying and fulfilling aspects of the work in Haiti was the sincere appreciation, friendship,  strength and resiliency shown by the people of Haiti.

Today I have a feeling of desperation and desire to help that goes unfulfilled.  The size and scale of this disaster, the long term effects and need far exceeded the initial response and donations.  It’s heartbreaking to see the hundreds of thousands of Haitians still living under sheets, in fields and unable to get the necessary food, water, medical and other services to rebuild their lives.  I often have a feeling of guilt and sadness as I return home each day knowing that the people of Haiti are living under such poor conditions.  I often wish that I could take an extended absence from work to help build homes and continue to help deliver medical services to those in need.  But for now, all I can do is support those organizations that I saw doing the most effective work in Haiti.

It will take time to address the long term issues but there are still many short term challenges that need your help.  The best advice from those who have worked in the field as aid workers is to donate to organizations who have a long history of work and demonstrated progress within the region.  A couple of worthy organizations are:

University of Chicago Global Health Initiative

The University of Chicago and many other Illinois medical centers sent teams of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and aid workers to the disaster areas.  Today they continue to provide assistance to Haiti by teaching the Haitians the much needed medical skills to be self-sufficient and continuing to provide aid to those affected by the earthquake, cholera outbreak and many other acute and chronic healthcare needs.


Love A Child

This is a long standing non-governmental organization (NGO) who’s work spans healthcare, education, food distribution and housing.


Missionary Flights International

Without the much needed delivery of materials, relief workers and other aid, work to rebuild Haiti could not continue.  Missionary Flights International provides much needed and cost effective transportation and delivery for relief aid into Haiti.


Mike Sorensen
Executive Director
Chicago Biology & Medicine Information Services
The University of Chicago Medical Center


Posted under earthquake/tsunami, news

This post was written by qni_it on January 12, 2011

One year later

Today marks the one year anniversary of the worst natural disaster in our lifetime. One that took 222,517 lives in Haiti (which would be every man, woman, and child in Rockford, Loves Park, and Machesney Park combined). 800,000 people are still homeless to this day.

Here is our blog post from one year ago. Click here to read today’s news concerning the anniversary.

7:10pm – Jacqueline Charles,
Caribbean Correspondent, Miami Herald reports “All of the communications are down, but i did recently speak to the council
general who spoke to the first lady who said that part of the palace which is
the equivalent of our white house has collapsed, and the president is safe, but they are trying to get to a safe place. I also spoke to a source who was on the telephone with his wife about two hours ago as the earthquake was taking place, and she spoke about how the house is crumbling, and the mountains are also crumbling.”

7:01pm -Ian Rogers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: He is Senior Emergency Advisor for Save
the Children. He was at Save the Children office which received a lot of damage – all supporting walls collapsed. They were not able to exit compound, all the roads
were closed. “We happened to be in the office at the time when the earthquake happened. It
was significant, and shook our office which is a large concrete building which
is two the three stories high. Of course, our immediate reaction was to get
into the doorways. As soon as it left, we had to evacuate all of the staff.
Thankfully, none of our staff have been injured in the office, however, our
compound is probably built better than most structures in this area. Around our
compound multistory houses have fallen down and slid down hills and mudslides,
and all of the roads at the moment are blocked because a lot of the
port-au-prince is built on a mountainside, and so retaining walls and earth has
gone over the roads. Unfortunately now, it is dark.”

7:00pm – Mike Godfrey
Director US agency for Intl development reports: “I see some traffic on a couple of the routes that are visible from my location.
I saw a helicopter go up at about ten minutes after the quake. I thought it was
a u.N. Helicopter. I could not see because of the lighting. It was a fairly
large helicopter, so i’m assuming it was the u.N. Copter up in the air. I don’t
know if there are any emergency efforts. I cannot see that from my location.
What i did see was within about ten minutes of the quake a huge plume of dust
and smoke rose up over the city, a blanket that completely covered the city and
obscured it for about 20 minutes until the atmosphere dissipated the dust. It
was an amazing sight to see dust come over that big of the city area.”

6:45pm – The Los Angeles County Fire department makes preparations for sending aid to Haiti.

5:20pm – PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A strong earthquake hit the impoverished country of Haiti on Tuesday, where a hospital collapsed and people were screaming for help. Other buildings also were damaged.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, but an analyst at the U.S. Geological Survey said there could be substantial damage and casualties. Powerful aftershocks were felt in the first hour.

The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 and was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) west from the Caribbean nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince, the USGS said. It had a depth of 5 miles (8 kilometers).

An Associated Press videographer saw the wrecked hospital in Petionville, near Port-au-Prince, and a U.S. government official reported seeing houses that had tumbled into a ravine.

No further details on any causualties or other damage were immediately available.

Don Blakeman, an analyst at the USGS in Golden, Colorado, said such a strong quake carried the potential for widespread damage.

“I think we are going to see substantial damage and casualties,” he said.

Blakeman said Haiti had already been hit by many aftershocks, the two largest registering magnitude 5.9 and 5.5.

“We expect more aftershocks because this is a large, shallow earthquake,” he said.

The quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti on the island of Hispaniola. Some panicked residents in the capital of Santo Domingo fled from their shaking homes.

Another USGS analyst, Dale Grant, said this was “the largest quake recorded in this area.” He said the last strong quake was a magnitude-6.7 temblor in 1984.

“Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken,” said Henry Bahn, a U.S. Department of Agriculture visiting Haiti. “The sky is just gray with dust.”

Bahn said he was walking to his hotel room when the ground began to shake.

“I just held on and bounced across the wall,” he said. “I just hear a tremendous amount of noise and shouting and screaming in the distance.”

Bahn said there were rocks strewn all over the place and he saw a ravine where several homes had been built. “It’s just full of collapsed walls and rubble and barbed wire,” he said.

Felix Augustin, Haiti’s consul general in New York, said he was concerned about everyone in Haiti, including his relatives.

“Communication is absolutely impossible,” he said. “I’ve been trying to call my ministry and I cannot get through. … It’s mind-boggling.”

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

5:00pm – View shake maps by clicking here.

4:56pm – (CNN) Numerous buildings have collapsed.

4:45pm – (CNN) Aftershock of 5.9.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI: A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti at 4:53 p.m. local time, according to the US Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center.

The earthquake caused the collapse of a hospital. Reports from an Associated Press videographer saw the collapsed hospital in Petionville.

The center was located10 miles northwest of Port-Au-Prince.

According to the National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii, there is a tsunami watch in effect for the islands of Haiti, Cuba, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic because of the earthquake.

There is not a widespread tsunami threat, only one to the islands closest to Haiti.



Posted under earthquake/tsunami, news

This post was written by qni_it on January 12, 2011