The title is tip o’ the hat to Dave Ewing.
As I’m sure most people know, an earthquake measuring 8.8 (that’s the number in the official Japanese reports) hit off the North East coast of Japan at 2:42pm. This is the biggest quake to hit Japan since they started recording seismic activity 140 years ago. Several hours later, there are still aftershocks and tsunami’s bombarding the area. As of this post, there are 300 confirmed dead, but there are countless people missing and unaccounted for as waves have wiped out entire towns, destroyed ships, and landslides, fires, and accidents have undoubtedly killed more.
For up-to-date news from Japan in English, check out NHK World, which also has a live video-cast, which changes languages now and then. I’m sure all global news casts are covering it.
Japan is a strong economic force in this world, but no one is safe from a natural disaster. If you’d like to help, you can do your share by donating to your local Red Cross, or other global humanitarian foundations. Huffington Post has provided some links to foundations dedicated to help. If you have nothing to give, then send out positive vibes and love towards our friends in the far East. ❤
The information after this is in depth information about some of the history around Japan’s natural disaster defense and other interesting facts.
Japan is very seismically active, as it lays on several tectonic plates, which push, pull and grind against each other, causing frequent earthquakes. They experience hundreds of earthquakes per year, and several severely destructive ones every century, which result in equally devastating tsunami’s.
Because of the immense seismic activity, modern Japanese building codes, and technological ingenuity has made the larger living centers nearly earthquake proof. If this earthquake had happened 50 years ago, the death toll would have been in the millions so far. Some of the more rural areas, and centers right on the coast have been lost entirely more due to the tsunami’s literally sweeping them away, which is a horrific sight, and my heart goes to the citizens of Japan, and their friends and family around the world.
The capitol, Tokyo, is more-or-less in-tact at the moment, mostly just shaken up. As the modern center, Tokyo is pretty much earthquake-proof. Some old buildings might not hold up, but most of Tokyo has been renovated to meet modern building codes, which can withstand earthquakes even stronger than this one. Tokyo has been nearly razed twice in the past 100 years, in 1923 during the Great Kanto Earthquake, and in 1944 and 1945 during the Tokyo Bombing during World War II. Each time, they’ve rebuilt the city to the splendor it is today, stronger, better, more resilient than ever. Back in 1923, the main cause of devastation the above ground electrical wires, and oil lamps causing fires, which spread out and burned down nearly the entire city.
In modern Tokyo, most main power lines, gas lines, water lines are all underground, which is far safer during an earthquake, and also keeps them from catching and starting the city on fire. Buildings are built to sway, and wobble, so that they don’t break and crash down. This is why, in Tokyo, there was minimal casualties (most were accidents from items falling off shelves, or from people falling down, and some flood waters around the Tokyo Bay).
There is also another natural occurrence that happens twice a year that has caused problems for Tokyo in the past, and that’s Typhoon season, when the city would flood twice a year. However, Japanese ingenuity has come again. There are huge water run-off areas that they’ve redirected to huge underground cylinders which then empties out to the ocean. They also re-direct flood waters to rice-fields, and to the ocean, which keeps Tokyo streets safe during flood seasons.