Sunday, 13 March 2011

From Japan to Illinois

As the pro-democracy protests rumble across the Arab nations,
 on the other side of the world Mother Nature too has shaken humanity's  foundations with one of the worst earthquakes in recent times; and a tsunami too.

The powerful quake shook loose Japan's underpinnings and the 10 metre sea swell that followed swept away all in its path, including thousands of people.


Japan sits on top of four tectonic plates (the hardened outer shell segments of our planet) all vying for space and moving towards each other at a rate of several centimetres per year. Tectonic plates are constantly moving due to our planet's spin and soft inner layers of molten rock (the mantle). The plates under Japan are steadily massing together. The stress builds up over time and then at some point it overcomes the lock between two plates. When that happens, you have an earthquake. If the epicentre of the quake is under the sea bed, the result of one plate's edge clambering onto another is a sudden rise in the level of the sea bead, creating uplift and a tsunami is born.

Japan is the worlds hot spot for earthquakes with
 approximately 1000 per year

My heart goes out to all the victims and their loved ones, who now have the unenviable task of picking up the pieces of their shattered lives.   :(



On a lighter note, the state of Illinois has become the 16th US state to abolish the death penalty. Congrats to Governor Pat Quinn. Yeahhhh :)

Thirty-four states still have the death penalty though, as per my previous post on the subject  :(

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