Saturday, March 12, 2011

Visualization of the Tsunami's Propagation (and a Few Thoughts)

Here is a very pretty vizualization of the tsunami that arose from the magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan. Somehow I tend to treat these things with a mixture of scientific fascination and more common human emotions.

One of the impressive things about the natural disaster is that the coast of Japan has apparently shifted by 8 feet. Also impressive is the fact that earth's axis has been shifted by almost 4 inches. The part that I think I find the scariest is the issue of nuclear meltdown. I'm more used to extreme situations like this in things like SimCity, where it doesn't actually count.

One of the reasons I find this scary is that I am from Los Angeles, so I automatically wonder whether something like this will happen there while I'm still around to witness it. I know it's all hands on deck at Caltech when earthquakes occur, but magnitude 8.9 is pretty damn scary.

(Tip of the cap to Kevin Hickerson for the visualization.)

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