Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ocean falls, and mountain drifts

I'm not exactly too enthusiastic after hearing of the recent 8.9 Magnitude earthquake that just hit Japan very recently. Earthquakes - and actually many other natural disasters - always makes me feeling all depressed. The thought of me sitting here all safe and dry, whereas scores of peoples in a distant (or not so distant) country never fails to get me feeling all down. Yes, that might be silly and all, but that's just the way I feel.

I'm now feeling more depressed than my usual depressed-self, considering how in the face of these natural disasters, there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it (well, there is of course prediction, but that doesn't change the fact that said disaster still takes place).

Anyway, here's something a bit personal: I've (indirectly) felt two earthquake through my very-short lifetime: one is of course the infamous 2004 Sumatra earthquake. I can still remember how my dad had mentioned when she returned home from work on that day, and how he felt the building experiencing some slight shaking. I didn't really thought of it much - I was clearly in a more carefree ignorant period at that time - that is, until the news came in later on that day. I had known of earthquake and tsunamis before then, but I have never expected for the tidal waves to occur so close to our shores.

I've received a taste of earthquake again 5 years later in the year 2009, this time taking place in Java. Unlike the last earthquake, I've actually felt the effect of this one: a shaking of my chair, as if someone was pulling the legs. And of course, we were pretty much unaffected by this earthquake, but the same couldn't be said for the victims in our neighbouring country.

For geologists, earthquake are pretty much time-bombs that are waiting to explode - they could pretty much point out the possible location where the next 'quake might strike, but can NEVER say with any certainty when it will take place, and how large the extent of damage would be. It's a pretty difficult task, that I sometimes pity the seismologists when people start complaining why in the world they didn't warn beforehand about that large incoming earthquake.

Anyway, this very recent earthquake makes me even more depress when I remember the nickname that a certain geologist had coined for Tokyo: the city waiting to die. The reason being is that it sits on the junction of not two, but three tectonic plates:

I suppose the question is not 'what if', but rather, 'when'. I always wondered how the people there could go on with their lives, hoping that the next earthquake would occur not now, not tomorrow, but some time in the far distant future...

Anyone interested in this subject could do no wrong than to watch Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. Let's sit down and ponder on the extent of the earthquake when it eventually strikes the city (but when is something which no one can answer).

Am I biased for this earthquake, since it occur in Japan, home of all things sugoi desu? Do I not give a flying leap to other not very major earthquakes in some countries which I don't really have too much knowledge about? I have no idea to be honest, although like I've said earlier, these kind things never fail to make me depressed.

Still, despite all that nature have thrown to us, life goes on for the rest of us powerless humans...

For some reason, this song came to mind

I was actually saving a post about some ranting on Touhou, but the news of the earthquake had put me off from posting it here. Well, whenever I'm in the mood for it, I'll put it up here alright?


  1. I experienced one earthquake and didn't even notice it because of how weak it was. The fact that it was during gym class helped conceal it as well.

    Maybe I'm just insensitive, but I didn't really care about the earthquake that much when I heard about it...until I saw pictures of broken figure collections on jaypee.

  2. This whole earthquake thing has me a bit shaken up (pun not intended). I guess part of it may be because it affected the country I am planning to be living in for at least a year. May also have to do with knowing people who are there right now. In any event, the thought of having a natural time bomb ticking away underneath your feet is a frightening idea.

    I'll be following your blog now, feel free to follow mine as well if you'd like.

  3. I am biased for this quake for obvious reasons.

  4. Problem is... Japan sits squarely in the MIDDLE of the plates' subduction zone. And its hell of a messy place, geologically speaking.

  5. It's a bit hard for me to imagine what it's like. According to my parents there was a big earthquake on the night I was born, but that'd be the only one I've "experienced" in my life.

    >Maybe I'm just insensitive, but I didn't really care about the earthquake that much when I heard about it...until I saw pictures of broken figure collections on jaypee.

    My heart broke along with the figures ;_;

  6. I actually didn't know where the tectonic plates sat, exactly. That picture is both enlightening and concerning.

    >I always wondered how the people there could go on with their lives, hoping that the next earthquake would occur not now, not tomorrow, but some time in the far distant future...

    I'm guessing the majority of people never bother to think about it. If you ask me, that's an entirely viable strategy. I use it every day.

  7. At least they are able to deal with it or, they would not exist up to this day.
    I had a tiny quake once last year during summer I though it was the construction workers doing.

  8. @Cpt: I saw some of those pics too; t'was really crazy, yeap

    @Tigoris: I hope you would still go to Japan; don't let this whole earthquake chapter scare you (after all, there's many other dangers out there isn't it?)

    Hey, thanks for following this plain ol blog. And I have actually followed your blog not too long ago; I'm interested with the stuff posted there. Keep it up!

    @Pocky: It seems most of us felt that way, huh?

    You take care of yourself now alright

    @bd77: Sounds like you have a sound knowledge on geology dude :D

    @Serenity: Yeah, even my earthquake experience are very mild compared to the real deal. I hope I won't get caught up in one of those killer 'quakes, or heaven forbid, tsunamis.

    @HHH: I guess ignorance is bliss eh?

    @MixedNuts: Yeah, you gotta respect the Japanese on being able to adopt with the not-so favourable tectonic settings. I just hope they can rebuild their country after all this.

  9. Plate tectonics and geology is one of my favourite subject. As the Earth's crust is plastic in physiology, its very dynamic and this we haven't taken into account the dynamism of mantle and core yet...
    Quake shockwaves travel great distances and will take quite long for its energy to dissipate. This IS very worry-some.

  10. This was depressing for me as well. It's horrible to see the ravaged land.

    I've experienced one earthquake. It was in November last year, but it was so small that I only heard it, and found out that it actually was an eartquake later on.

  11. @bd77: Wow, you could put to shame even some of the geology students there.

    Yeah, the Earth is actually more dynamic than what some portrays it. I'm sadly not much well versed in what goes at the depth of the Earth (they involve a lot of modelling and mathematical formulas which I don't really follow). But anyway, I digress.

    @Link: I'm still slightly depress about the whole thing, especially with the fear of reactor meltdown and all.