Crisis in Japan: Earth Institute Reactions

by | 3.14.2011 at 12:59pm | 2 Comments
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter

The largest ever recorded earthquake in Japan’s history has triggered a sequence of events that have killed thousands, crushed and submerged cities and towns and left a financial toll that will take years for an already struggling economy to recover. Videos and stories slowly began to emerge as the sun rose in Japan the day after the 9.0 earthquake hit off its northeastern coast, revealing the havoc the ensuing tsunami had caused.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists have been working to understand the forces behind the recent Japan earthquake, and reaching out to the media to explain the science behind the tragic events in Japan. In this video, seismologist Chris Scholz talks about some of the lessons learned.

Fears of a complete nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station mounted, where damage from the earthquake and tsunami triggered a series of system failures and explosions. After several evacuations, 50 workers remained at the facility and continue to struggle to keep the situation from escalating out of control. Monitoring continues as the full extent of the exposure to radiation is measured.

Lamont Doherty scientists have been analyzing the data from the moment the first seismic waves reached the Observatory’s seismographic network, continuing through many aftershocks in the days since. Our experts continue to speak with the media, providing perspective on the science of earthquakes and tsunamis, and the relative risks of major earthquakes striking closer to home.

Below is a rundown, check back here often for  updates. If you’re a journalist and interested in speaking with an expert please contact David Funkhouser at dfunkouser@ei.columbia.edu

Steve Cohen, Executive Director of the Earth Institute, has a piece in the Huffington Post on lessons that can be learned from the earthquake; among them the need to improve infrastructure, create international disaster response organizations, and wean ourselves off of vulnerable toxic technologies. He’s also written a post on reducing the risks of energy.

Irwin Redlener, MD, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health writes in The Daily Beast that the 10 years after 9/11 and six after Katrina the US remains ill-prepared and making slow progress to mitigate the next disaster, .

Prof. Sree Sreenivasan at the Columbia Journalism School has a great resource on Facebook compiling all sorts of news.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Oberservatory is also highlighting media mentions on its Facebook page.

The media has picked up on the story about potential a risk to the nuclear power plants at Indian Point located 24 miles outside of New York City. Here’s the release EI did on the study in 2008.

Blindsided by Ferocity Unleashed by a Fault The New York Times – Mar 22
“Compared to the rest of Japan, it looks pretty safe,” said Christopher H. Scholz, a seismologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, referring to the area hit worst by the quake on March 11. “If you were going to site a nuclear reactor, you would base it on a map like this.”

Does the Japan Quake Make a US Quake More Likely?
Mother Jones – Mar 21
John Mutter, a professor of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, explains that when a quake occurs, stress is relieved

MARCH 16

‘Almost No Risk’ of Japan Nuclear Material Reaching New York … WNYC – Mar 16, 2011
Dr. Andrew Kanter, researcher of Clinical Epidemiology at the Earth Institute at Columbia University Radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant …

Can It Happen Here? Japan Crisis Raises Questions Over NY Plant WNBC – Mar 16, 2011
There are conflicting views from scientists. Thus, Lynn Sykes of Columbia notes that “our risk is high.”In a report with other scientists, he said recently that New York is not as prone to earthquakes as Japan or California but that “earthquakes do happen.”

Could what happened in Japan happen in New York? WCBS 880 Radio – Mar 15, 2011
A 2008 study by Columbia University Earth Observatory found that Indian Point isn’t exactly on firm ground and is in one of the worst places to site a nuclear power plant.

Group of 50 plant workers briefly evacuated MSNBC Morning Joe – Mar 16, 2011

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Morning Joe panel – including Columbia’s Dr. Jeffrey Sachs … discuss the latest news at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

MARCH 15

CNN: Jeffrey Sachs: “Japan Should Bounce Back” In the Arena – Mar 15

Weather a greater danger to New Jersey’s nuclear plants than earthquakes Press of Atlantic City - Mar 15
If a meteor crashes into the ocean, it could create a bad tsunami damaging to New Jersey,” said John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. The Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey Township, .

San Francisco: Living on borrowed time? CBS News – Mar 15
In fact, says Colin Stark, Lamont Associate Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, the problem is that we prefer to keep believing the dice will fall in our favor and so we keep building.

Quake-Prone Pacific Rim Atomic Plants May Hold Keys to U.S. Nuclear Plans Bloomberg News – Mar 15
In New York, Entergy Corp. (ETR)’s two Indian Point reactors, about 24 miles north of New York City, are near the intersection of two seismic zones, identified in 2008 by scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. A magnitude 7 earthquake in the region is possible, based on features of the faults, according to the scientists.

Massive Japanese quake alters earth’s spin, shortens our days UN Radio – Mar 15
John Armbruster, a seismologist with the Lamont-Doherty Observatory of Colombia University in New York, explains to Gerry Adams what caused the quake and how it’s affected some things we take for granted.

Quake safeguards at Indian Point questioned amid Japan disaster Times Herald-Record – Mar 15
“We think that the intersection of these two (earthquake) features being so close to Indian Point makes it a place of greater risk than most other points on the map,” seismologist Lynn Sykes wrote in the study for Columbia’s Lahmont-Doherty Earth Observatory, which monitors seismic activity in the Northeast.

New Jersey reactor safety debated Bergen Record – Mar 15
A 2008 report by Lamont-Doherty researchers showed that Indian Point sits close to two previously unknown seismic zones. One is the Ramapo Seismic Zone — a braid of small fractures in the Earth’s crust about two miles from the plant. The second is the Stamford-Peekskill fault line that stretches 25 miles between the cities and passes one mile north of Indian Point.

New Jersey reactor safety debated NorthJersey.com - Mar 15
A “light” 4- to 4.9-magnitude quake happens once every four to 10 years, according to the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, NY North Jersey would be most affected by anything that could happen at Indian Point in

MARCH 14

Rory Kennedy and the Campaign to Get Rid of Nuclear Plants Daily Beast – Mar 14,
The plant causing the Japanese disaster sits 80 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter; in 2008 Columbia University’s Earth Institute discovered that Indian …

Japan earthquake and tsunami: Could California host the next one? Daily Mail - Mar 14
‘The Pacific Northwest – what we call the Cascadia Subduction Zone – has the same kind of characteristics as the fault beneath Japan,’ seismologist James Gaherty said. ‘We’re worried about a large subduction zone similar to Japan,’ Mr Gaherty,

Nuclear power is safe on the whole MSNBC Morning Joe – Mar 14, 2011

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Columbia University’s Dr. Jeffery Sachs joins Morning Joe to discuss why nuclear energy is generally safe despite the recent explosions at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Pacific Northwest at risk for quake like Japan’s CBS News – Mar 14
“The Pacific Northwest — what we call the Cascadia Subduction Zone — has the same kind of characteristics as the fault beneath Japan has,” said James Gaherty of the Lamont Research Center at Columbia University.

Learning from Japan’s Catastrophe Huffington Post – Mar 14 By Steve Cohen.

Back in the Day, March 17, 1976: I-287: Earthquake in North Jersey NorthJersey.com - Mar 14
Scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Observatory in New York confirmed that the tremors felt in the area on March 11, 1976 were from an earthquake that registered a magnitude of 2.5 on the Richter Scale. The tremors occurred at 4:07 pm, …

Zubiri seeks inquiry on PH preparedness vs natural disasters Manila Bulletin - ‎Mar 14
According to “Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis,” a joint study by the Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the World Bank Hazard Management Unit, the Philippines is a high-risk area. Angara said that it was “no surprise” that the .


MARCH 13

‘Superswarm’ of quakes may have primed Japan for disaster The Sunday Times (London) – Mar 13
… Geoff Abers, a professor of seismology at Columbia University, says the evidence for links between quakes, though weak, is growing. … “They weren’t quite in the same place. The implication is that a slip on one fault changes the stresses on others and this leads to further quakes. The effect does seem to be there, but it is a weak rather than strong one.”

The Early Show Video – Japan earthquake 101 – CBS.com CBS Early Show – Mar 13

Seismologist James Gaherty spoke with Lauren Wanko on the basics of how an earthquake occurs and the chances of something to the magnitude of Japan’s earthquake happening in the U.S.

Video – Japan Quake Like a ‘Compressed Spring’ Released, Triggering Tsunami – WS Wall Street Journal – Mar 13

Seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., talk with WSJ’s Christina Tsuei about the science behind Japan’s devastating earthquake.

Japanese coast shifts by 8 feet and earth’s axis by 4 inches due to earthquake International Business Times AU - Mar 13
Also, Jim Gaherty of the LaMont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University has determined that the great Japan earthquake surpassed by hundreds of times the devastating tremor that struck Haiti last year. While the Indonesian quake in 2004 was …

Please Explain: Tsunamis WNYC – Mar 13
… currently at the National Weather Service monitoring the situation, and Geoff Abers, a seismologist at the Lamont Doherty Center at Columbia University. …

MARCH 12

Japan Quake Like a ‘Compressed Spring’ Released MarketWatch - ‎Mar 12
Seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY, talk with WSJ’s Christina Tsuei about the science behind Japan’s devastating earthquake.

Japan Earthquake: Doomsday? Or Just a Restless Earth? ABC News - Ned Potter – ‎Mar 12
It also was on a fault line that had been relatively quiet for 200 years. “This fault [under Haiti] was locked in a way that it didn’t produce a lot of small quakes,” said Art Lerner-Lam of Lamont-Doherty after the Haiti disaster.

What unleashed Japan’s massive earthquake? Pakistan Observer - ‎Mar 12
“This is certainly something people are going to look at” in some detail, says Geoffrey Abers, a research professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY Over the past 10 to 20 years, he says, “we’ve learned a lot about about loading …

Quakes not increasing, but human risk is CNN International - ‎Mar 12
Editor’s note: Colin Stark, Lamont Associate Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, is a geophysicist and geomorphologist whose research focuses on the effects of typhoons and …

Japan Quake Like a ‘Compressed Spring’ Released MarketWatch - ‎Mar 12
Seismologists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY, talk with WSJ’s Christina Tsuei about the science behind Japan’s devastating earthquake.

Limerick nuke plant on seismic checklist The Mercury – Mar 12
… Pa., according to information from Columbia University’s Earth Institute. The Ramapo fault line has several smaller fault systems associated with it, …

Limerick plant on agency’s seismic checklist The Times Herald – Mar 12
… a northeast to southwest orientation, is near Schaefferstown in Lebanon County, PA, according to information from Columbia University’s Earth Institute. …


MARCH 11

Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet CNN International - ‎Mar 11
The quake was “hundreds of times larger” than the 2010 quake that ravaged Haiti, said Jim Gaherty of the LaMont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. The Japanese quake was of similar strength to the 2004 earthquake in Indonesia that

Japan Had One of World’s First Early Warning Systems ABC News - ‎Mar 11
“What you’re actually feeling are the seismic waves that spread ahead of the earthquake itself,” said Geoffrey Abers, a research professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, NY “This is something people have been .

What Areas in the US Are At Risk for Earthquakes? KGO-AM - ‎Mar 11
… the rules of the game yet in this area, so we can’t come with numbers and specifically tell you what the hazard is going to be,” Leonardo Seeber, a research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York, said.

Death Toll From Japanese Earthquakes Rise; City Sets Up Relief Fund NY1 – Mar 11
“Most of the buildings in Tokyo are earthquake-resistant,” said Professor Steve Cohen of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. “And you’ve seen the amount …

Japan quake: It could have been even worse CNN International - ‎Mar 11
Editor’s note: Leonardo Seeber is a seismologist and Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. Tokyo, Japan (CNN) — The shaking was steadily intensifying as smiles dried up on the faces of my colleagues at the …

Expert: North America also vulnerable CNN (blog) - ‎Mar 11
ONLY ON THE BLOG: Answering today’s OFF-SET questions is John Armbruster, of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of the Earth Institute of Columbia University. In January, he celebrated his 40th anniversary as a seismologist. I am studying earthquakes …

What Unleashed Japan’s Massive Earthquake? Christian Science Monitor – Mar 11
Interview with Geoff Abers of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

What Areas in the U.S. Are at Risk For Earthquakes? ABC News – Mar 11
“We know in the future at some point an earthquake is going to occur but we don’t really understand the rules of the game yet in this area, so we can’t come with numbers and specifically tell you what the hazard is going to be,” Leonardo Seeber, a research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York, said.

Hawaii Braces for Tsunami The TakeAway - Mar 11

Bill Dorman, News Director at Hawaii Public Radio discusses the evacuation efforts taking place in Honolulu, HI. Arthur Lerner-Lam, seismologist and interim director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory talks about the earthquake on the sea floor.

Seismologist Sizes Up Japan Quake CNN/Anderson Cooper 360 – Mar 11

Columbia Univ. seismologist Jim Gaherty compares the event in Japan to other recent large quakes and tsunamis.

The Force Behind Tsunamis CNN/IN The Arena – Mar 11

Klaus Jacob speaks live with Eliot Spitzer.

Japan Earthquake: Can We Ever Predict Quakes? ABC News Technology – Mar 11
What you’re actually feeling are the seismic waves that spread ahead of the earthquake itself,” said Geoffrey Abers, a research professor at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, N.Y. “This is something people have been talking about for decades.

What conditions are necessary for an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption to cause a tsunami? Scientific American – Mar 11
Klaus Jacob, a senior research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, explains.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter

Comment Using Social Media

2 Responses to “Crisis in Japan: Earth Institute Reactions”

  1. Nicola Weaver says:

    A moving video collage has been created here:
    http://earthquakes.videohq.tv/2011/03/japan-aftermath-earthquake-aftermath-in.html

    A link straight to the American Red Cross’s appeal page is there.

    Please donate generously to them. Don’t listen to those with closed hearts.

  2. [...] For more on the coverage, look to special pages on the Japan earthquake and its aftermath at the Earth Institute and Lamont-Doherty. swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf", "vvq-13369-vimeo-1", [...]

Comment