It seems that when natural disaster strikes, hysteria takes over. Rumors, and mis-impressions, and ignorance and outright lies start traveling as fast as a tsunami wave across the ocean. Faster, now that we’re in the age of the internet and instant communications. The recent one in Japan is no exception.
And of course, there is the usual religious blather. I’m waiting for Pat Robertson to claim that it’s all because of teh gays.
Donald Prothero over at The Panda’s Thumb has a nice, level headed post that gives us the straight skinny on Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and other matters (no bears). I suggest you check it out. You’ll be a lot smarter, and a bit wiser for doing so.
A couple of highlights:
On the Japan Earthquake:
The shaking was so extreme that the upward force on the people and objects was about 0.3 times the acceleration of gravity. Since the initial event, there were over 600 Mw 6.0 aftershocks in the first 24 hours, and thousands of smaller ones, and the area is still feeling them more than 48 hours later.
On the Tsunami:
Ever since consciousness-raising of the 2004 Sumatran disaster, people have gradually stopped mislabeling seismic sea waves as “tidal waves” (since tides are not involved in these waves, which are generated by earthquakes, volcanoes, or landslides). Now they refer to them by their proper name “tsunami,” which means “harbor wave” in Japan, a country that has experienced many of them over the past centuries.
On earthquake predicting:
As Charles Richter himself said, “Only fools, charlatans, and liars predict earthquakes.”
All this attempt to stir up a media frenzy and put out crazy notions about supermoons affecting earthquakes, volcanoes, and weather is pure bunk …. Those who do so are trying to get free media attention, since the media these days can’t tell what is news and what is garbage.