Florida State experts discuss disaster in Japan

A whirlpool is seen near Oarai City, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeastern Japan, March 11, 2011. The biggest earthquake to hit Japan on record struck the northeast coast on Friday, triggering a 10-metre tsunami that swept away everything in its path, including houses, ships, cars and farm buildings on fire. REUTERS/Kyodo

Florida State University’s internationally recognized faculty researchers are sharing their expertise with national and international media on a variety of topics related to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. In outlets ranging from CNN to The New York Times, these experts are discussing the potential dangers at Japan’s nuclear facilities, the physical processes that underlie the formation of a tsunami, the challenges that the public health sector faces in the coming days and weeks, the economic impact of the disaster, and how religion figures in to the way the Japanese people react and deal with a disaster of this magnitude.

Philip Froelich, FSU’s Francis Eppes Professor of Oceanography, was quoted in a March 12 New York Times article describing the "surprisingly destructive" nature of water. Froelich explained "by the time you’re talking about a wall of water that’s 10 meters high, if that wave is two miles long into the ocean, it’s basically like a hundred tanks coming across you. Even though it’s a fluid, it operates like a solid hammer."

Vice President for Research Kirby Kemper, a nuclear physicist, was interviewed on NBC’s "Today" program and in a segment on MSNBC, and was the lead source quoted in an article on The Wall Street Journal’s website discussing the dangers that could materialize at Japan’s nuclear facilities as a result of earthquake damage. Kemper also was quoted internationally by the websites AdelaideNow.com and EthiopianReview.com, and was featured on a panel of experts on CNN International.

Professor of geological science Jim Tull described the effects that an earthquake in Japan has on other quakes around the world in a USA Today article from March 14. The story explains that Alaska and the West Coast are on the "Ring of Fire" circling the Pacific Ocean that has produced most of the world’s big earthquakes. Tull said that a big quake in Japan or Chile does not immediately trigger other big quakes.

Also, Jimmy Yu, an assistant professor of religion, discussed how Japan’s religions confront tragedy in a March 14 CNN article.