Earthquakes can burn Tokyo to cover the U.S. 20-meter-thick layer of ash

Effects of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

Scientists are predicting that the elements could completely destroy civilization.

The famous British geologist Derek Alger wrote that "the history of any one part of the earth, like the life of a soldier, consists of long periods of boredom and short moments of terror." These words immediately come to mind when you look at reports from Japan, and earlier — from Haiti.

In the depths of our planet continuously rage processes that change the face of the planet. And if they occur rapidly, and terrible earthquakes element turns into the ruins of the city, devastating entire regions, and under the threat of extinction are whole countries.

And that's not all: the scientists are predicting that in the case of some volcanic eruption of destruction would be so extensive, that the elements may completely destroy civilization.

Scientists are predicting that the elements could completely destroy civilization

"Today" to find out how these threats are real, and if we can face them.

PLATE: MOVEMENT discordantly

Causes of earthquakes immediately become clear as soon as we imagine the dynamic nature of the Earth and the slow movements that occur in its crust — the lithosphere. The thickness of the crust is very changeable.

Beneath the continents it is 30-35 km, and the big mountains, well above the average level of the surface of the earth, almost always accompanied by a deep "roots", and under the oceans, it is about 10 km below sea level. This solid layer, however, is not solid: broken into several large pieces, called plates. Beneath the lithosphere, forces, forcing boards to move with speed, usually a few centimeters a year.

The cause of these underlying forces are not completely clear. They can be caused, for example, the slow flow of hot plastic material in the subsoil. Inconsistency in the movement of plates in any direction it makes the stone thickness crack, creating earthquakes. Not surprisingly, most of earthquakes (about 95%) occurs at the edges of plates, but the resonance reaches to the middle of the continent.

Beneath the lithosphere, forces, forcing boards to move with speed, usually a few centimeters a year.  The cause of these underlying forces are not entirely clear ...

Propulsion: WHAT THEY ARE

In order to identify a hazard, scientists estimate by fluctuations on the Richter scale — in points. True, not everyone understands their meaning. Be clear.

Risk comes with 8 points

Risk comes with 8 points

At 1-2 points earthquake people do not see at all (they only record Spetspribor — seismographs). At 3 points concussion can be felt only from inside the room on the upper floors, and variations can be compared with a minivan, drive around. But even at 4 points shaking noticeably, though not dangerous — rattling dishes, shaking furniture and hanging objects swing. If the magnitude will reach 5 points, will start splashing water in vessels capsize light objects, and people will feel a slight wiggle. At 6-7 vibrations interfere walk and stagger buildings, objects falling from shelves, possible cracks in the walls. Cracks in the soil and asphalt appear only at 8 points, and the buildings constructed on old technologies can begin to break down. But the 9 points are already very serious threat — the buildings are falling, start landslides, hurricanes and tsunamis are possible. That is what happened in Japan.



Wave.  Develops one thousand km / h

Wave. Develops one thousand km / h

At undersea earthquake is always shifting the seabed: the bottom part of the falls, and the part is lifted. The surface of the water starts to oscillate vertically, trying to return to its original level — mean sea level — and generates a series of waves, called tsunamis — in some cases, the water runs over a distance of 100 meters from the shore. If a strong earthquake (over 7 points) tsunami wave reaches a height of several tens of meters, and the speed of the water is up to 1,000 kilometers per hour. This water column sweeping everything in its path — from people and animals to buildings.

So far, humanity has not settled the question of recognition of tsunamigenic earthquakes — warning service oriented to the magnitude of the earthquake and raise the alarm immediately, as soon as the devices show any powerful underwater earthquake.

Tsunamis occur in the Black Sea, at the bottom of which is sometimes earthquakes, but these bumps are so small that the shock wave does not reach even a meter high.

Yellowstone: a way to cover the U.S. Peploe

Geyser.  It shoots out of the ground because of the high temperature and pressure 

 Geyser. It shoots out of the ground because of the high temperature and pressure

Yellowstone National Park (located on the border of three U.S. states — Wyoming, Montana and Idaho) — amazingly beautiful corner of the Earth, with majestic mountains and meadows with grazing bison, with waterfalls, a lake of sky-blue color and incredibly rich flora and fauna.

But beneath the beautiful veneer conceals a danger that threatens all humanity. The fact that Yellowstone is located on a huge hot spot on the planet — a hotbed of molten rock, which rises at least 200 kilometers deep in the Earth and nearly reach the surface, forming a so-called superplume. The heat from this hot spot supplies all the gas outlets Yellowstone, geysers, hot springs and bubbling mud pots.

Beneath the surface is filled with magma chamber, which has in the context of an elliptical shape with a horizontal axis of about 72 miles — about the same size as the park itself — and the vertical axis of 13 kilometers. Imagine a pile of TNT size of Kyiv region and rise to 13 kilometers into the sky. The pressure in the magma chamber to the overlying crust lifted the Yellowstone and the surrounding area of about half a kilometer.


What happens in case of eruption? The most famous powerful eruption — the volcano Krakatoa in Indonesia in August 1883 (when the echo of a terrible blow repeatedly echoed around the world for nine days). But if you imagine the mass ejected Krakatoa, in the form of ball for the game of golf, the ejection of matter Yellowstone would be the size of a ball with a diameter of 2 meters. If this happens, most of the United States would be covered by a 20-meter-thick layer of ash.

And the risk is. The fact that Yellowstone is not the place of the ancient, and an active volcano. His cycle of eruptions on average one violent eruption every 600,000 years. The last one was 630,000 years ago. Is Yellowstone time is not far off? Geophysicist Paul Doss, who works in Yellowstone Park, said that nothing concrete can not speak. "Volcanoes — strange things. That day may come tomorrow, and 10 thousand years. Or even not occur. No one knows, "- he said.

Prehistoric CEMETERY

In the summer of 1971 a young geologist named Mike Voorhees in place Yellowstone conducted research and found the most unusual burial fossils ever discovered in North America: a dried pond, serves as a common grave of many tens of animals — rhinos, zebrovidnym horses, saber-toothed deer, camels, turtles. All were killed by the eruption about 12 million years ago, animals found buried under volcanic ash three-meter thick. And they died immediately, but from disease — pulmonary hypertrophic osteodystrophy — This disease occurs by inhalation of large amounts of solid abrasive particles, and they seem to have breathed a lot, because for hundreds of miles around a layer of ash reaches a thickness of several centimeters. That is not only dangerous volcano, and its consequences.


Toba.  Killed almost all people

Toba. Killed almost all people

The last supervolcano eruption on Earth was in Toba, in northern Sumatra, 74,000 years ago. It was horrible. Judging from Greenland glaciers, after he had six years of "volcanic winter", and God knows how many after that was lean years. It is believed that it has put humanity to the brink of extinction, reducing the global population to a few thousand people. There is reason to believe that the next 20,000 years, the total number of people did not exceed 10,000.


The most common types of earthquakes are those that arise in the meeting place of two tectonic plates. As the plates are pushing against each other, pressure builds until one or the other is not far behind. Particular cause for concern in Tokyo, which geophysics referred to as' the city, awaiting death. " Japan's capital is on the junction of three tectonic plates, moreover, in a country already known for its seismic instability. Today in Tokyo, is mixed with the fear of peace, and under the surface of all the stress increases.

Now the population of Tokyo is close to thirty million. Nobody is going to make forecasts of how many people may die, but the assessment of possible economic losses reached $ 7 trillion.

Even more alarming signals, because of its inexplicable and unpredictable, served rare tremors, known as intraplate earthquakes. They are far away from the edges of plates, which makes them very unpredictable. The current events in Japan have shown that even this nation, known for high technology, was not able to predict disaster.


Carpathians.  Are in seismic zone 

Carpathians. Are in seismic zone

Director of the Institute of Geophysics of the Romanian Gheorghe Mermuryana repeatedly said that Ukraine faces a terrible earthquake, and in the near future. According to him, Ukraine is a dangerous seismic point called the Vrancea area. Therefore, in our country can happen unprecedented in its scope and power of the earthquake — it makes such a conclusion on the basis of observations. "In the last century the Vrancea region made itself felt in 1940, 1977 and 1990. If there is a new earthquake, aftershocks will be about 8 points, "- says a seismologist.

However, Ukrainian scientists have argued that there is nothing to fear. Like, an earthquake can be, but at the moment to talk about it there is no sense of danger. "The exact date of the earthquake, no one can say — not even science-based concepts, the exact model of the process", — said the deputy director of the Institute of Geophysics of Academician Alexander Subbotin Kendzera. Earthquake in Ukraine may be at any time, but nothing bad will happen: a large part of the country is in the 5-point line.

In such shocks building just a little shake. In addition, our experts say that to say that an earthquake will occur in the near future, and in general to call a specific date or approximate period of time, there is no reason. A forecast of the foreign expert — just a hypothetical possibility. But if something were to happen, would suffer only Bukovina. There is also a small risk of failure in the Crimea.

LARGEST cataclysm

Lisbon.  Judging from the pictures, was destroyed to the ground

Lisbon. Judging from the pictures, was destroyed to the ground

The largest earthquake is a disaster, which occurred in 1960 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile, who was originally credited with a magnitude of 8.6 points, but later some reputable agencies (including USGS) revised it upward to a truly impressive figure of 9.5. Earthquake in 1960 not only produced extensive damage along the South American coast, but also caused a giant tsunami that swept nearly ten thousand miles across the Pacific and washed much of the town of Hilo, Hawaii, where the buildings were destroyed and five hundred sixty people were killed. More victims claimed waves in Japan and the Philippines.

But the most damage for the entire period of recorded history has caused an earthquake that struck — and, in fact, was completely destroyed — Lisbon, capital of Portugal, on All Saints Day (November 1), 1755. Just before ten o'clock in the morning, the city shook oblique collision, according to current estimates, the power of 9 points: wild shaking lasted seven minutes. After 2 minutes of calm thing happened again. As a result, lost sixty thousand men, and almost all the buildings for miles around in ruins.


Despite the fact that we can see the example of Japan, to the serious consequences that can result earthquake, do not panic. The fact that only a few of such disasters pose a risk, while each year there are about a million earthquakes that we, because of their insignificance, just do not notice.

In the Pacific zone is about 90% of all earthquakes in the world. Another area of high seismic activity, comprising 5-6% of all earthquakes — Alpine belt, stretching from the Mediterranean to the East through Turkey, Iran, and North India. The remaining 4-5% of earthquakes occur along the mid-ocean ridge or inside panels. In the area of the so-called Bohemian Massif — area around the Czech Republic and Slovakia — the probability of an earthquake close to zero. But the earthquake prone young mountain ranges — the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Himalayas, the Andes and the Carpathians. But most of the territory of Ukraine seismically safe — is a huge granite slab, whereby earthquakes we do not have.


Vladislav Bovsunovsky

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