Take an aerial tour of tsunami-stricken Japan via Google Maps

May 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I just noticed that the Google Maps‘ satellite imagery of Japan has been updated and now shows things post-tsunami. The devastation is astonishing. If you want to see just how extensive it is, you don’t need to get aboard a government aircraft to survey the damage. In Google Maps, just type in “Miyagi Prefecture Japan” and then zoom in.

Vast areas of previously inhabited areas — houses, business, and various buildings of all sizes — have literally been razed down to their foundations, leaving huge expanses of what once were bustling neighborhoods, even whole municipalities, are now . . . empty . . . except for the desultory heaps of wreckage and rubble strewn everywhere. All that trash and debris just lying around un-removed would be unthinkable for Japan, a country where cleanliness and order are highly prized and diligently fostered by Japanese. Perhaps these satellite images were added before clean-up efforts began. Or, it’s quite possible that the radioactive contamination emanating from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuke plant makes clean up impossible in those areas.

This what’s left of the Nakahama Post Office:

How come we don’t hear anything anymore (not even in the prayers of the faithful at Mass) about praying for the people who are still suffering in Japan? Let’s not forget what happened there. It could happen here. At least in Japan there are steep hills and mountains up which people can run to escape the waves. There’s no such thing in those low-lying areas of the US, such as Florida. Imagine what would happen if a similar earthquake-generated tsunami were to come barreling into either coast of Florida. It would be curtains. Lights out. Game over.

New documentary about the 2011 Japan quake & tsunami

April 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Let’s not forget to pray for Japan.

Yes, it is true that life goes on, but lest we forget too quickly about the catastrophe in Japan last month and the 25,000 or more men, women, and children who lost their lives in the tsunami, I am posting a newly released documentary of what happened that is essentially a chilling montage of video footage for the hardest hit areas.

The thing that really made an impression on me is that because Japan is quite hilly and mountainous, there were high places the people could go to escape the towering wall of water that slammed relentlessly inland for miles (assuming that they left soon enough and got there fast enough — as we know, many did not). But try to imagine what would happen in a low-lying coastal area, such as, say, Florida, whose average elevation above sea level is just 100 feet. With no high ground available (no significantly high hills, much less mountains), where could people flee to escape an incoming tsunami? And what if, in such a nightmare scenario, an earthquake-triggered tsunami came rolling in from the Atlantic that was significantly higher than the one which recently hit Japan? Is it possible that the entire State of Florida could be completely inundated in a matter of minutes?

How the March 2011 Japan tsunami happened

April 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Here we have a fascinating scientific breakdown of exactly what factors were in play to cause both the 9.0 earthquake off Japan’s north-east coast and the ensuing tsunami that killed upwards of 25,000 people. As ever, I am grateful to science and scientists for the fact that we can know exactly what the geophysical causes were behind such a disaster. Some new footage I haven’t seen before is part of this presentation.

Also, please be sure to watch this amazing video footage of the tsunami taken from the vantage point of those standing on a hill looking down on a town that was entirely engulfed by the waves. Truly, terribly mind-blowing.