Monday, July 06, 2015

"trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy" - Methane Hydrate Causes Tsunami


Methane Hydrate Causes Tsunami

On December 21, 1946, a big earthquake (M8.0) occurred in the Pacific Ocean 50 km off Cape Shiono-misaki situated at the southernmost tip of the Kii Peninsula, south of Kyoto and Osaka.  It is called the 1946 Nankai (south sea) Earthquake.

It caused 1,330 deaths in regions of western Japan on the Pacific Ocean.  As it was just one year after the end of WWII, there was some confusion in handling this disaster.  But it was reported that some towns and villages were attacked by tsunamis as high as 6.5 meters.  The tsunami also reached Hawaii and the US west coasts.  This earthquake was reportedly triggered by a rise of an undersea mass of land stretching 250 km.

One thing particular in this earthquake is that some people saw a lightening phenomenon called earthquake light.

For example, notable Japanese actor Hisaya Morishige (1913-2009) wrote about his experience of encountering this earthquake and a following tsunami in his essay.

Morishige traveled to a seaside town to make business of trading fish.  Though Morishige was living in Tokyo in 1946 with his family after coming back to Japan from Manchuria, where he had worked as an announcer of a radio station during WWII, he happened to travel to Osaka, his hometown, to find a job as he was unemployed at the time.  In Osaka, one of his friends introduced a man living in the seaside town who was familiar with a boss of the fishing industry in the seaside area.  So, Morishige traveled to the seaside town of Tokushima Prefecture.

The earthquake happened before the dawn after a night Morishige met the boss withe the mediator in an inn.  As the boss promised to help Morishige's planned business to sell fish in Osaka, Morishige was sleeping happily.  But the big earthquake and tsunami destroyed his plan as well as many homes in the town, including the mediator's.  

In the darkness, quaking Morishige somehow climbed up a hill behind the inn; then he saw some weird light over the sea.  Workers of the inn told him that some wells had dried up the day before or so.

Some scientists wrote a paper to analyze this earthquake in 2009.  Their conclusion is that Methane Hydrate accumulated on the sea bed gushed out due to the huge seismic activity.  The frozen material consisting of Methane and water molecules jolted so hard delivered the Methane gas which exploded and came up to the surface of the sea, pushing up the surface to cause the tsunami.  It also triggered earthquake light as the gas could take fire when it was mingled with the air and chlorine.


Today, a great amount of Methane Hydrate has been found on the sea beds around Japan.  It is expected to be a big future energy source.  However, as the scientific report tells, it can also trigger or augment a tsunami accompanying an undersea earthquake.

After this experience of the natural disaster, Morishige pursued his career as a comedian and then a movie star.  He became a very successful actor, exhibiting various talents.  One of his successful roles in theatrical performances was Tevye of Fiddler on the Roof, a story of a Jewish family in Ukraine.  Morishige played Tevye 900 times in Japanese theaters till 1986.  He was awarded the Order of Culture, the highest prize for scholars and artists, by the Japanese Government as the first case for performers in the genre of popular arts in 1991.

However, Hisaya Morishige did not encounter the 2011 Great Earthquake and Tsunami of the Pacific Coats of East Japan.

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Luk 7:6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: