Saturday, 12 March 2011

Yet Another Tsunami

I thought we'd never get another devastating tsunami like that one in Aceh seven years ago when many places around the Indian Ocean were inundated taking away with it about 150,000 lives. When this recent one in the north-east of Japan happened, after an 8.9 undersea quake, it took many of us by surprise as it still seemed too soon after Aceh - whose quake registered at 9.2. Yes, these were humongous as far as quakes go.

Christchurch in New Zealand three weeks ago experienced a second, albeit weaker but more catastrophic jolt barely five months after being shaken with a 7 pointer last September. This too seemed too close for comfort for me especially because of the fact that I had just then returned from a splendid motoring holiday with hubby and eldest daughter around that region of New Zealand.

And by the way, only in the last fortnight my second son the airline pilot had flown to Sendai airport - which was badly affected by the tsunami - so excuse the goosebumps please.

Yesterday we watched footages of the devastation on the Japanese channel, NHK, and had the opportunity to observe it's role in disaster management. Information and instructions were aired in an unemotional manner and translated into many languages including English, Mandarin and Korean. They say the Japanese are a stoic lot but whose to know what worries were going on in the broadcasters' minds, as they were going about their national duties.

(added on 24th March 2011)

Like I said, there seemed to be a lot of jostling of Mother Earth's plates in the last few years. And where tsunamis are concerned, according to Wiki, there have been about as many in the last decade as there had been in the fifty years prior to the year 2000 as per the list I've copied-pasted below:


  • 6 - 1950–2000
    • 6.1 1952: Severo-Kurilsk, Kuril Islands, USSR
    • 6.2 1958: Lituya Bay, Alaska, USA
    • 6.3 1960: Valdivia, Chile
    • 6.4 1963: Vajont Dam, Monte Toc, Italy
    • 6.5 1964: Niigata, Japan (新潟地震)
    • 6.6 1964: Alaska, USA
    • 6.7 1976: Moro Gulf, Mindanao, Philippines
    • 6.8 1979: Tumaco, Colombia
    • 6.9 1983: Sea of Japan (日本海中部地震)
    • 6.10 1993: Okushiri, Hokkaido, Japan (北海道南西沖地震)
    • 6.11 1998: Papua New Guinea

  • 7 - 2000s
    • 7.1 2004: Indian Ocean (Aceh)
    • 7.2 2006: South of Java Island
    • 7.3 2006: Kuril Islands
    • 7.4 2007: Solomon Islands
    • 7.5 2007: Niigata, Japan (新潟県中越沖地震)
    • 7.6 2009: Samoa, Pacific Ocean
    • 7.7 2010: Chile
    • 7.8 2010: Indonesia
    • 7.9 2011: New Zealand
    • 7.10 2011: Pacific coast of Japan

My daughter wondered whether Malaysia could experience quakes and tsunamis too. We did have tremors from the Aceh one, didn't we? And had our share of damage from the ensuing tsunami in Penang. Going by the prolific activity around the so-called Ring of Fire of late, dare we expect the whole Eurasian Plate on which Malaysia sits to somehow tilt over and under the Pacific Plate? And we awake from a night of sleep to a sunrise in the west?

Brrrrrr....... banish the thought!

Here's a map of the world according to it's crustal plates:


"The Earth's outer layers are organized into about a dozen great pieces, called lithospheric or crustal plates—although "shells" is a better name when you realize that they're all curved, not flat. The interactions of these plates, and how they recycle most of the lithosphere over the course of geologic time, are what plate tectonics is all about. In addition to these major plates, there are another dozen minor ones or microplates.

Beneath the plates is the upper mantle. The top part is softer than the the crust above or the mantle below, and that layer is what allows the plates to move without stirring up the deep mantle."

What an amazing planet we live in - so beautiful and so alive!..


mamasita said...

Unbelievable! So sorrowful. Mother nature unleashing its wrath mercilessly.

Great research Zen! Thanks.

Pak Idrus said...

Planet earth is still evolving as we speak and nothing we could do about it but to hope for the best. Lives goes on.

My sympathy to all the good folks in Japan and condolence to those who lost their loved one.

Take care.

Lili said...

I shiver every time I hear earthquakes and tsunamis. I was so close by when it hit our shores here seven years ago, kak. And, I was oblivion of the whole episode until it was late afternoon when I saw many fishing boats 'landed' in the middle of the road!

I am saddened by yesterday's catastrophe in Japan. AllahuAkbar!

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Zen,
My Mama experienced the second earthquake in Acheh (where thousands perished in Nias that night) as she was there on some emergency relief and assessment work. That was about six years ago. We hope the Japanese will recover quickly and thanks to their long sightedness, most of the buildings are quake-proof, or else more lives would have been lost as it happened when people are at work. purrr....meow!

Zendra-Maria said...

mamasita - there had been more happenings in a short span of seven years than 50 years before that. Scary isn't it?

Hey, no research lah... just google only.

Zendra-Maria said...

Pak Idrus, yes we hope for the best always and not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time...

Our thoughts are with the stricken folks of Japan too.

Have a good weekend and enjoy the meals from your new kitchen :))

Zendra-Maria said...

Lilli, even without you actually experiencing the tsunami, you suffer the trauma as well. Even us, in the safety of our homes were rendered speechless watching the images on TV. Yes it is very sad, even how prepared the Japanese were, when it came there wasn't much that they could do...

Zendra-Maria said...

My, my Cats... your mama do get around, doesn't she. It was a very noble thing that she was doing in Nias. Are you all going to visit Japan as well?

As for me, as usual when it is already considered safe, no more after-shocks, then maybe I go take a look :)

Wan Sharif said...

Love the geological part of the post, Zen..
Please note the statement". In addition to these major plates, there are another dozen minor ones or microplates."..
Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra are on the Sunda Shelf ..a rather stable part of Eurasian plate.
That 26 Dec 2004 tsunami is the result of Australian Plate (from the map of this post) subducting under the stable part of Eurasian plate.
The likelihood of Malaysia experiencing Tsunami is always there.. albeit a secondary one (a rather mild one compared to the primary Tsunami that hit Bandar Aceh) just like the one we experienced on that fateful 26 Dec 2004.
The recent Pacific coast of Japan tsunami would have reached Peninsular Malaysia coast (the east coast) if not for the fact that the tsunami have to negotiate through the islands of Philippines and that Vietnamese Peninsular..
May Allah protect our Bolehlan and the Kerpoklekorland..

Tommy Yewfigure said...

:(( Let's pray they can contain the nuclear meltdown.....I don't think they'd recovered from those 2 from WW2.

tireless mom said...

We are blessed to be in this area where catastrophy is minimal. But then again, we never know. Nauzubillah.

Zendra-Maria said...

Ayoh Wang... ameen to your doa.

And thanks for sharing your geological knowledge. It's a relief to know that the Malay Peninsula sits on a plate that is stable as well as is protected by the nusantara islands. For the Japanese, perhaps there's a hikmah behind the catastrophe - who knows they might find new oil beds under the sea after this :)

Zendra-Maria said...

Tommy, the Japs took Hiroshima and Nagasaki in their stride, also Kobe. I think this one is no exception. According to CNN they had seen no looting whatsoever, or maybe the survivors are still shell-shocked? Yes let's pray for them.

Zendra-Maria said...

TM, agree probably no quakes but heavy flooding is possible. Look at Queensland, OZ's playground? Semoga kita sentiasa dilindungi yang Maha Berkuasa..