Japan’s coastline shifted more than 800 feet after the devastating Jan 1. earthquake.
I have a couple of updates to some Earth-shattering stories I covered recently.
Iceland’s president said the country is battling “tremendous forces of nature” after molten lava from a volcano in the island’s southwest consumed several houses in the evacuated town of Grindavik.
…President Gudni Th. Johannesson said in a televised address late Sunday that “a daunting period of upheaval has begun on the Reykjanes Peninsula” where a long-dormant volcanic system has awakened.
A volcano on the peninsula erupted for the second time in less than a month on Sunday, with orange lava bursting through two fissures near the fishing town of Grindavik. Authorities had ordered residents to leave hours earlier as a swarm of small earthquakes indicated an imminent eruption.
All indications point to a long-dormant fault line under the country waking up and will likely release lava with little warning for years to come.
The island straddles the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a crack in the ocean floor separating the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.
Sunday’s eruption was the fifth in fewer than three years on the Reykjanes peninsula, which had not previously seen one in centuries.
“After eight centuries of a relative break and a complete cessation of surface activity, we have entered a new episode of plate separation which could last several years—possibly decades,” volcanologist Patrick Allard from France’s Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris told AFP.
There is also an update on the situation in Japan, which is recovering from the devastating earthquake swarm on New Year’s Day.
Satellite images showed that the coastline of Japan’s Noto Peninsula was moved over 800 feet following a massive earthquake on New Year’s Day.
A 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck Japan on Jan. 1 around 2:10 a.m. EST (0710 GMT, or 4:10 p.m. local time in Japan), prompting orders for residents to evacuate affected coastal areas that experienced significant uplift. Satellite imagery of the area before and after the quake shows that the intense uplift extended the coastline by up to 820 feet (250 meters), which is greater than the length of two American football fields.
Images of Japan’s Noto Peninsula shared on X (formerly Twitter) by Nahel Belgherze show coastal areas where the seafloor has risen above the water, creating newly exposed beaches. The photos capture the coastline changes after the earthquake and tsunami had already subsided, leaving some ports completely dry and inaccessible to boats.
The earthquake that struck Japan’s Noto peninsula on Monday was so strong that the coastline has moved up to 250 meters offshore due to significant land uplift. pic.twitter.com/XpxBMLRTUU
— Nahel Belgherze (@WxNB_) January 4, 2024
Recovery operations continue in the region. The US will deploy two military helicopters to aid relief efforts in communities cut off by the disaster.
“Two Blackhawk helicopters will supplement Japan’s fleet assisting to move supplies and personnel,” U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
The U.S. aircraft will begin relief operations on Wednesday, Japan’s Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara said at a press briefing.
…The scale of the U.S. assistance could expand over the coming days, the source added, asking to remain anonymous because they are not authorised to speak to the media.
More than 220 people are confirmed to have died in the quake that destroyed thousands of homes, vital infrastructure and knocked out power in the area. Relief efforts have been hampered by strong aftershocks that could trigger fresh landslides and further damage weakened structures.
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