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mattbrowne's avatar

Strong 8.9 earthquake in northern Japan triggering 30 foot tsunami - What does this mean for financial market stability?

Asked by mattbrowne (31585points) March 11th, 2011

The terrible major earthquake in 2004 mainly affected Indonesia and Thailand without global consequences.

Japan is well prepared when it comes to dealing with earthquakes and tsunamis. The warning system is very reliable. The population knows what to do because of regular nationwide drills. But Japan is an economic superpower. How will today’s quake affect the rest of the world?

As far as I can tell the tsunami will soon reach Alaska and Hawaii as well.

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23 Answers

Odysseus's avatar

Thanks for the update.
We recently had a destructive earthquake down here in NZ and I can tell you that the corruption has already started , from contractors, politicians & insurance companies right down to the civilians and charities. These quakes should not have as much economic impact as they do if only there was less greed in the world.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Odysseus

“Among the countries for which a tsunami warning is in effect are: Russia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.”

http://www.timeslive.co.za/world/article962255.ece/Widespread-tsunami-warning-issued-after-Japan-quake

But it will take many hours before the tsunami reaches NZ and the impact should be not as severe.

Hawaii has ordered evacuations.

What are your latest local news?

Odysseus's avatar

awaiting civil defense to make a decision but if it does arrive it will be at 6.15am. Its low tide now so I’m going to go out and drop another anchor from my little yacht and set my alarm very early to wake in time for an update.

Ive always told my wife I don’t like living by the beach, the forests and mountains are my happy place. I seriously want to move.

mattbrowne's avatar

The tsunami will reach New Guinea and the Solomon Islands first and news reports about the impact there will help NZ prepare.

mattbrowne's avatar

I just read about a fire in one of Japan’s nuclear power plants.

And California might be reached by the tsunami too. This might be useful:

http://www.spiegel.de/images/image-190518-galleryV9-bgqq.jpg

Axemusica's avatar

I’m shitting my pants up here in AK. I know it’s already hitting the most southwestern of AK as we speak. I’m not sure if I should be going to bed or not.

Axemusica's avatar

So after a rigorous search across the interwebs, I guess Chignik Bay, Alaska* is as far it should go. Here’s a map for example, I live in Anchorage.

I hear dogs barking outside (O.O”)

* as found here

Axemusica's avatar

Damn it’s supposed to hit Seward? that’s not that far from Anchorage. Map Link

LuckyGuy's avatar

this quake appears to be not as destructive financially and with fewer deaths than the Kobe Earthquake in 1995. Following the Kobe quake, the Dow Jones dropped about 1% but recovered within 8 days. That movement could easily have been in the “noise”.

Axemusica's avatar

Walked up to the gas station (Since I’m not amped and couldn’t sleep for the life of me) and apparently Seward has already been hit by 6ft swells. I’m not sure how Tsunami’s work, do they come in waves? or is that all were going to get?

mattbrowne's avatar

There seems to be major damage in Tokyo. Even the famous tower is affected. Many buildings in commercial zones are on fire.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Axemusica – A tsunami is not a normal wave. The horizontal momentum is huge, even for small 6ft waves. And yes, there can be a big one followed by smaller ones.

ETpro's avatar

The long term economic impact is unclear. It will certainly hurt short-term. But over the long haul, there will be a lot of rebuilding, repair of damaged items and replacement of things that were damaged.beyond repair. Maybe it puts enough people to work that it is a benefit to long-term economic development.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ETpro – Well, right now it seems the damage is less severe than after the Kobe earthquake.

incendiary_dan's avatar

There was a major fire and explosion at an oil refinery. That’s gotta hurt the economy.

Luckily, last I heard it hadn’t spread to the nearby areas. But it was basically out of control, so I hope the people get out of dodge while they can.

Adagio's avatar

I would definitely look at video footage on the Internet, the tsunami has been enormously destructive.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne I think the damage may not include as many large buildings, because Kobe is a major city with about 1.5 million people plus lots of suburbs with additional population. But what I have been hearing about damage is that this may be the most expensive natural disaster in history. It will take weeks to really nail down the cost in property damage and human lives.

incendiary_dan's avatar

It was recently upgraded to 9.1.

Five nuclear reactors in two plants are critical and in emergency states. One of them they’ve failed to contain and it might meltdown. It has the potential to be 100 times worse than Chernobyl.

Maybe market stability should be the last thing on anyone’s mind.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ETpro – In the meantime it’s obvious that the damage is extensive, perhaps far worse than Kobe.

@incendiary_dan – You are absolutely correct. The nuclear situation is very dramatic and there’s still a lot of contradictory information floating around. I just watched a German weather forecast for Japan. Right now the wind is “ideal”. In case of a meltdown and large quantities of radioactivity getting out they will initially be blown out into the Pacific. But wind direction will probably change. And there are 36 million people in Tokyo. An evacuation is impossible.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Things have gotten much worse than originally published. The failure of the nuclear plants adds to the cost dramatically. Auto plants have shut down for the week to assess the situation.
Kobe was 2–3% of Japanese GDP. This one may turn out to be higher.

ETpro's avatar

@worriedguy & @mattbrowne Reporters were in a village near the point where the tsunami was generated today. The devastation was beyond belief. The tsunami had clearly swept over the tops of 40 foot high buildings standing well inland. The village had a population of 17,000 and they think that at least 10,000 are dead in that village alone. Of course, many will never be found, their bodies having been swept back out to sea by the retreating water. A man was found alive today clinging to a floating roof 15 km. off the coast.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, the devastation is beyond belief. Many survivors in the north don’t have heating and it’s really cold right now. Japan should accept more international help. Especially helicopters.

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