I've ridden a 6.6 quake that knocked down buildings and highway bridges. That one was strong enough to satisfy my personal curiosity.
The Japan quake last night is being reported at 8.9! That's almost inconceivable! The Richter scale is logarithmic, meaning that each whole number higher than the last is 10X the strength of the previous number. If my exponential calculation is accurate, then the Japan quake last night released about 2800X the energy of the one I felt many years ago. That's frightening.
The picture is one of the most striking I've found and is probably a unique shot in all recorded history. It looks like a second or third wave coming ashore. We tend to think that our species has significant influence over our environment, but I tend to think differently. I think that even collectively, we are insignificant compared to the powers locked up within this earth we inhabit. We are more like some dust particles sprinkled over small portions of its surface.
March 13, Sunday update: The United States Navy pulled on station with 8 ships off the Japanese coast today. Included among them are the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). That's only 2-days after the event and that's remarkable.
March 14, Monday update: This video came to light today. It's the clearest I've seen that shows the flood wave. Remember too, that a hurricane surge operates about the same way.
March 19, Saturday update: This video came to light today. It was taken at sea from the 970-Ton Japan Coast Guard Cutter, Matsushima. It shows the wave approaching the ship's bow and the ship riding up and over. Some fun, eh kid?
And then they went over a second wave a short time later...