Quake Upgraded to 9.0

The Japan Meteorological Agency has revised the magnitude of Friday’s earthquake to 9.0, up from 8.9.

CNN quotes experts saying the earthquake appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 2.4m and shifted the Earth on its axis.

Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the quake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 10cm.

NASA geophysicist Richard Gross calculated that Earth’s rotation sped up by 1.6 microseconds. (AP)

Failure of cooling systems in reactor 1. At first radiation levels outside the plant were 8 times normal. They jumped to 90 times normal. Officials state that this is a dosage every hour equivalent to what one normally receives in a year. Not to worry, though, “a huge amount of radiation has not been released.”

Apparently even Tokyoites are being asked to remain indoors with windows closed and ventilation off for fears of a possible thermal plume coupled with a wind shift.

Three people had tested positive for elevated radiation levels yesterday. That number has now jumped to 160.

Now … “All the functions to keep cooling water levels in No. 3 reactor have failed,” plant operator Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said.

First it was 6,000 – then 45,000… Now about 140,000 people have been told to evacuate areas near the two Fukushima nuclear power plants. Revision by NHK … 392,225 people as of the very early morning not counting the greater than 10,000 missing.

Astounding images from Friday posted on boingboing.

The shop shelves have been restocked after being empty before. The government insists that it is safe. My worry is that with 35 million people in the greater Tokyo area … there is really nothing else they could say. The chaos and destruction from any other statement would pretty much …

Well, the death toll has now risen to 2,000. NHK reports Japanese self-defense forces assigned to relief missions have been doubled in number to 100,000. The aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan has arrived off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture to assist.

Through it all, Japanese manners remain unshakable … “She was elderly and alone, injured and in pain. When the massive earthquake struck, a heavy bookshelf toppled onto Hiroko Yamashita, pinning her down and shattering her ankle.
When paramedics finally reached her, agonizing hours later, Yamashita did what she said any “normal” person would do … She apologized to them for the inconvenience …”

Earthquake Tokyo 8.9

Holy Crap of the most immense proportions. A little less than an hour ago the room shook a little. I looked up thinking “hm, earthquake” and went back to what I was doing. A few moments later it was clear this was not our normal few seconds of shaking. The entire building swayed like a earthquake demo. It was impossible to walk without holding on to the walls. Everything fell of the tables. The lights burst in sparks. I made it down 6 flights of stairs and into the parking lot in my pajamas. Everyone shaking. It’s been an hour now and the aftershocks are still coming. The water on my desk is shaking as I write this. I am shaking too. Trying to walk feels like just getting off of an intense roller coaster. (Have not felt this since the 1989 San Francisco quake that knocked down the bay bridge and that was a richter of 6.9). Helicopters circle overhead as emergency vehicles do their loudspeaker thing that I can’t understand.

Okay … CNN:

Massive quake hits Japan
Tokyo (CNN) — An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan early Friday, triggering tsunami warnings and sending people fleeing out of buildings in the capital.
The quake rattled buildings and toppled cars off bridges and into waters underneath. In Tokyo, crowds huddled together and tried to reach relatives via cell phone.
Its epicenter was 373 kilometers (231 miles) from Tokyo, the United States Geological Survey said.
It triggered a tsunami warning for various countries, including Japan and Russia, the National Weather Service said.
“Earthquakes of this size are known to generate tsunamis potentially dangerous to coasts outside the source region,” it said.

I have no idea why these CNN people need to say “early Friday” though … it was 2:45pm. And it’s now 4pm and my doors are still swaying side to side and frighteningly frequent intervals. And I do mean … at this exact moment.