The Rocks Know

Japan rocked by earthquake, tsunami

Aggregation of news and blog coverage of the 3/11/2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan

March 11, 2011

Rocks don’t always play nice. Please keep the people of Japan in your thoughts today after the horrifying earthquake and tsunami that struck there this morning (EST). No one knows much yet, other than it was an 8.9 earthquake, the 5th largest ever recorded, and that there are tsunami warnings along the pacific rim, including California, Alaska and Hawaii. I’ll be aggregating coverage throughout the day, as well as any updates by the USGS and NOAA.


5:23 PM EST: Last post for a little while, but I leave you with interesting things: The LA times reports on Japan trying to prevent a Nuclear Meltdown at one of their plants. Rapid Tsunami monitoring at Scientific American as well as a story on How to cool a Nuclear Reactor. If you really just love links, then there’s a bunch at Looking for Detachment. The Trembling Earth has a nice collection of videos.

3:13 PM EST: 4 people swept out to sea in Crescent City, Swaying Skyscrapers in Tokyo

2:53 PM EST: History of Geology has the history of earthquakes in Japan.

1:43 PM EST: Nevermind… The USGS is still reporting the earthquake as an 8.9. See ‘earthquake data’ under USGS below for details.

1:32 PM EST: Tsunami damage reported in US. Scientific American: Tsunami demonstrates the limits and power of science.

1:23 PM EST: BBC creates video map of Japan, Wikepedia Fail.

1:19 PM EST: WOW! NOAA’s predictions of wave height in visual form. National Geographic explains tsunamis. New York Times talks about Japan’s strict bulding codes. NSF shows in a video how scientists model tsunamis. The New Scientist reports that the earthquake was upgraded to magnitude 9.0. LiveScience reports on the science behind the earthquake. Foregin Policy has a slideshow.

12:00 PM EST: Mother Jones notes that the new budget cuts funding for the Tsunami Warning center

11:51 AM EST: Google Earth has resources for people in Japan to use. A really awesome use of technology. And Life in Plane Light has a great collection of links related to the earthquake

11:46 AM EST: Whoa… controversey already. Grist publishes an article that implies that earthquakes are caused by climate change. Geologists on twitter are not thrilled. I am sure that there will be related blog posts up soon.

11:10 AM EST: Twitter feeds to follow for information- compiled by UN Dispatch. Also, the Guardian has an article about how Japanese were prepared for the event. Some great photos of the Japanese tsunami at National Post, and Oakland is being proactive with their coverage, saying that this tsunami might not strike Oakland, but showing the places that would be innundated in this article.

9:04 AM EST: Tsunami hits Hawaii- 6 feet high at first estimation- two waves of 6 feet are the largest so far. Waves are reported to be 15 minutes apart at the closest- but varies greatly in different places. No damage so far.

Updated Lists: All new updates are in bold

News coverage of the event:

Hawaii Tsunami Information– Live feed from the tsunami center. Encouraging people in HI not to go surfing or anywhere near the beach

New York Times– Good overview of the many aspects of the event

Reuters– One of the first news stories released, very detailed for such a a short deadline

BBC News- Video: The Science behind the Quake Not terribly exciting, but a good overview of the geology.

BBC News- Article and associated multimedia

Live Feed from CNN

Discovery News: Video and pictures of tsunami at Sendai airport


Bad Astronomy: An addition to the “Stop talking about Supermoons!!” posts circling the geoblogosphere

Eruptions: Earthquakes were not caused by the moon

Georneys: Why are there earthquakes and Volcanos in Japan

Hudson Valley Geologist

Iceland volcano and Earthquake Blog

Research at a Snails Pace

Wild Wild Science

The Landslide Blog

Geology in Motion– Links to


Fault Model

Earthquake Data: The data from the earthquake.

Damage Assessment/Prediction: The USGS risk assessment for damage in Japan.


Waves in CA

Tsunami warnings for CA

Tsunami Warnings

First wave data in Kahului HI

Wave Data in Hilo, HI

Tsunami awareness video: Great for Kids but also a good explanation of Tsunamis

About the Author

Mary Beth Griggs

Mary Beth is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina and has a B.S. in Geology and Archaeology from Tufts University. As a direct result of her undergraduate majors, she has an unhealthy interest in old rocks and natural hazards. She has a blog on those subjects at


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


The Scienceline Newsletter

Sign up for regular updates.