A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The raw facts of Nature's awesome power.....

Highest magnitude reading on the Richter Scale: 9.2 - the 3rd/4th most powerful earthquake during the last 100 years;

Energy released equivalent to 9,500 Hiroshima bombs or 190 million tons of TNT;

Number of aftershocks to date: more than 90, ranging between magnitudes of 4.4 and 7.1;

Jolt in the Earth's rotation slowing each day by 3 microseconds;

Sumatra and nearby islands physically moved by up to 36m (120 ft);

West coast of Sumatra has sunk by up to 2m; the regional capital, Banda Aceh, may now be below sea-level;

The resultant tsunami, and its remnants, have been recorded travelling around the world 3 times;

Major tsunami impacts suffered up to 7,000 km (4,000 miles) away from the epicentre;

Tsunami speeds between 100 and 800 mph;

Likely death toll: c.150,000 [see 'Ocean disaster toll hits 114,000' (BBC World News, December 30)];

1 man lost over 200 relatives;

Likely number of people displaced or homeless: unknown, but in many millions;

Aid requirements in the order of 8 billion dollars, and rising.


Here I repeat again the Disasters Emergency Committee's (DEC's) 'Tsunami Earthquake Appeal' details for all who would like to help:

DEC Website: www.dec.org.uk
Donation telephone: 0870 60 60 900
Address: DEC Tsunami Earthquake Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA, UK.

Philip, not surprised that, for once, the media initially underhyped this awesome catastrophe, this - in the words of Rachel Campbell-Johnston of The Times - "twitch"...in our "tectonic skin".

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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