Courtesy Public domain photo by David Rydevik via WikimediaNatural disasters are a fact of nature, and natural disaster movies are a fact of the film industry. Whether it be volcanoes, errant asteroids, earthquakes, or something as far-fetched as the seeds of carnivorous plants riding to Earth on meteorites (one of my childhood favorites) - the genre has been a story staple since the early days of cinema.
This year's offering is The Impossible, a gut-wrenching movie that portrays the effects of the December 26, 2004 tsunami in Thailand. The main storyline centers on a family of five who struggles to survive and reconnect after a 9.3 earthquake in the Indian Ocean triggers a deadly tsunami that killed more than a quarter-million people. In the film, the family is English, but the screenplay was based on the actual ordeal of a Spanish family (you can read about them here but be aware that it could be a spoiler for watching the film).
Personally, I thought the film was really good and gave an incredibly realistic and fascinating depiction of what it must have been like to have experienced such a devastating natural disaster. The special effects were amazing and I'm very curious to find out just how they were done. Plus it got me interested in re-examining the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
This astounding video came to my attention via an email yesterday. It's yet another view of the awesome destructive power of the tsunami that arose from the Japan earthquake of March 11, 2011. The video was taken from a hillside in the resort town of Minami-Sanriku. It's amazing the kinds of events our modern technology allows us to witness.
See photographs of the Japan earthquake/tsunami damage on Gigapan. (You can zoom and pan to explore each image.)
I love XKCD. How is it that a comic strip has such good technical explanations? Anyway, here you'll find a chart of the ionizing radiation dose a person can absorb from various sources. Check it out. You'll feel much smarter.
This video is definitely strange. It was taken in Tokyo Central Park on the afternoon the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck in northern Japan. What it shows has been described by some as liquefaction. I'm not sure that's what's going here but whatever it is, I think most people would find it very unsettling. That doesn't seem to be the case with people in the park.
Be sure to watch it past the first minute (and the constantly barking dog) as that is when it gets the most interesting.
Check out this amazing map. It shows the number of foreshocks, the big quake, and aftershocks, as well their location, date/time, depth, and magnitude. Stick with it: it starts off slowly, but it gets pretty horrifyingly spectacular.
Follow this link to an amazing overlay of before and after Japan tsunami aerial photos. A slide bar allows you to "swipe" the tsunami over the before photo to see after effects.
The guy who posted this originally on Facebook also included a link to Google streetview of where it was shot.
GPS positioning data is showing that the island of Japan has moved an incredible 13 feet closer to North America due to Friday's 8.9 earthquake (some are now upgrading it to a magnitude 9.0). It also shows some 250 miles of Japan's coastline dropped 2 feet. This New York Times page has some great multimedia graphics about the geology involved with the quake. The first is a series of seven graphics that clearly illustrate the plate tectonics involved in the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
UPDATE: Here's an updated video showing the terrifying force of the tsunami that swept across the Japanese city of Sendai. It's not just an unstoppable wave; it's a juggernaut of debris.
Courtesy USGSA monster earthquake hit northern Japan today at 2:46pm local time (11:46pm CST) causing tremendous damage including the triggering of a deadly and devastating tsunami. The images of destruction coming out of the country are both stunning and heartbreaking. Early reports say a 30-foot wave slammed into the city of Sendai washing away houses, cars and other debris – some of it in flames. The city is located about 80 miles from the quake’s epicenter and has a population of over 1 million people. According to the USGS Earthquake site the tremblor occurred at a depth of about 15 miles. The initial shaking is reported to have lasted two minutes, and has been followed by several strong aftershocks. It’s the most powerful quake to hit Japan in 140 years, and there are already reports of 200-300 deaths. But unfortunately that will more than likely rise as time goes on and reports are updated. Tsunami warnings have been issued across much of the Pacific Rim and also Russia. Seven foot waves have already hit Hawaii.