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!..