The distance of the quake from the plants is a key factor in this: Japan may experience these quakes on a regular basis, but what was so devastating was it's close proximity to the east coast. It was very close to the surface, it was very powerful, and it was very close to the land. The science behind seismic activities is complex to say the least. Distance and depth have a marked affect on the effects felt.
If you looked at the data of earthquake power AS FELT BY THE LOCATION of the power plants, I daresay it would generally withstand the blast; the chances of an earthquake of that magnitude hitting at that exact location is nowhere near as likely, and as already pointed out, they pulled a scotty; they said it will stand up to a 7.9, and it took the beating of an 8.9/9.0
Also to note, the ricter scale increases by a factor of 10 per single point; so a 8.9 is 10 times more powerful than a 7.9, and 100 times more powerful than a 6.9. So when you consider it's taken a beating 10 times more powerful than it was designed for, that's pretty damned good going.
I suppose it depends on what you class as 'times stronger'. To me, 63.1x10 to the 15 Joules is not 10 x less than 2.0x10 to the 18 Joules.
Last edited by localzuk; 16th March 2011 at 04:11 PM.
Richter magnitude scale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Richter magnitude scale, also known as the local magnitude (ML) scale, assigns a single number to quantify the amount of seismic energy released by an earthquake. It is a base-10 logarithmic scale obtained by calculating the logarithm of the combined horizontal amplitude (shaking amplitude) of the largest displacement from zero on a particular type of seismometer (Wood–Anderson torsion). For example, an earthquake that measures 5.0 on the Richter scale has a shaking amplitude 10 times larger than one that measures 4.0. The effective upper limit of measurement for local magnitude ML is just below 9 for local magnitudes and just below 10 for moment magnitude when applied to large earthquakes.
That's assuming that thorium 228 is the material used to create Uranium-232 in the thorium cycle, Uranium-232 has a half life of 69 years.
/not a nuuuuclear tech, so this is assumption from a wikki article
How Are Earthquake Magnitudes Measured?
The Richter Magnitude ScaleThe Richter magnitudes are based on a logarithmic scale (base 10). What this means is that for each whole number you go up on the Richter scale, the amplitude of the ground motion recorded by a seismograph goes up ten times. Using this scale, a magnitude 5 earthquake would result in ten times the level of ground shaking as a magnitude 4 earthquake (and 32 times as much energy would be released).
Richter scale (seismology) -- Britannica Online EncyclopediaOn the Richter Scale, magnitude is expressed in whole numbers and decimal fractions. For example, a magnitude 5.3 might be computed for a moderate earthquake, and a strong earthquake might be rated as magnitude 6.3. Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; as an estimate of energy, each whole number step in the magnitude scale corresponds to the release of about 31 times more energy than the amount associated with the preceding whole number value.
Each increase of one unit on the scale represents a 10-fold increase in the magnitude of an earthquake—in other words, numbers on the Richter scale are proportional to the common (base 10) logarithms of maximum wave amplitudes. In theory the scale has no upper limit, but in practice no earthquake has ever been registered above magnitude 9.
In all honesty, I only even know about the Richter scale anyway. This may actually be one of those few shining moments where we were both right. In which case, it was me being a pedant so I lose on moral grounds.
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