Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami and Other, Even Stranger Discoveries (Update)

Posted by Trent Walters at 5:00 AM
Death toll may reach 100,000. The next fear is waterborne diseases, not to mention loss of shelter, businesses, and goods. Benjamin Rosenbaum thoughtfully blogged how charitably the charities fare.

Niall Harrison has a very cool animation plotting the course of the tsunami over time. Reuters reports that the earthquake may have sped up the earth's rotation by 3 microseconds and tilted the earth's axis by an inch. Tectonic plates may have moved 98 feet.

An interesting article from the Anchorage Daily News describes how a 1946 tsunami--"a 40-foot wave or a 50-foot-high wave traveling at 140 mph... [that left h]uman body parts [from men stationed in a lighthouse]... washed 115 feet above sea level to the cliff top. The victims had basically been shredded"--recently opened up more questions than it answered. Scientists last summer expected to find evidence of a landslide but found none. Moreover, two miles down in the pitch-dark, they found a methane seep supporting "fuzzy carbonate rocks 'weeping' with upside-down life, unknown worms, gigantic bacteria, seas stars, octopuses, clams.... a community of animals that live on rocks but get their (energy) from methane."

Is the SF community certain there's not enough fascinating (albeit at times morbid) science going on right here on Earth?

UPDATE:

Goatchurch wrote in with this amazing bit of already comprehensive encyclopedia entry from wikipedia (wow).

He also said, "I had heard that if you were on a boat out on the deep sea when such a wave passed, you wouldn't even notice it." I read this, too. Out at sea, the wave is maybe one or two foot high, but once it comes ashore, the shallows funnel it into something mammoth and terrifying.

BBC put out a program in 2000 about the possibility of a mega-tsunami originating from the Canary Islands and hitting the U.S. Atlantic coast: program, news article, Q&A.

3 Comments:

Blogger goatchurch said...

Interesting animation there. It shows the waves refracting round the islands and focussing onto Sri Lanka. I had heard that if you were on a boat out on the deep sea when such a wave passed, you wouldn't even notice it, like an invisible transfer of energy.

Note, of course, that the stock market has registered zero effect from this. That's because that particular market represents zero capital investment in these areas, so nothing was destroyed. Their financial interests are strictly limited to gigantic unrepayable loans. These hold good no matter how impoverished the countries owing them become.

12/29/2004 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger goatchurch said...

Then I got to thinking: has Arthur C Clarke snuffed it yet? He lives in Sri Lanka. Google lead to the wikipedia of ACC, which said he's survived.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_C._Clarke

There's already a vast cross-linked entry on the earth-quake only 3 days ago. Beat that Britannica.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Indian_Ocean_earthquake

12/29/2004 11:50:00 AM  
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