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Mt. Fuji Volcano In 'Critical State' After Quakes

Soulskill posted about two weeks ago | from the everybody-tiptoe-around-the-mountain dept.

Japan 151

An anonymous reader writes: Mount Fuji, in addition to being a picturesque landmark and an important part of Japanese culture, is also an active volcano. Its last eruption was just over 400 years ago, but its location — where the Eurasian, Pacific, and Philippine tectonic plates meet — mean it will always have potential for eruption. A new study (PDF) has examined the pressures around Mount Fuji in the wake of several recent earthquakes, including the magnitude 9 tremor that unleashed the destructive tsunami in 2011. The researchers now say the volcano is in a "critical state." According to the study's lead author, "The volcanic regions are the ones where the fluids trapped in the rock – boiling water, gas, liquid magma, which cause an eruption when they rise to the surface – exert the greatest pressure. The seismic waves add to this pressure, causing even more disturbance." They have no way of predicting when an eruption might happen, but the potential seems greater than ever.

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151 comments

Who wants to bet... (5, Funny)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about two weeks ago | (#47465461)

...this thread erupts with first posts?

Re:Who wants to bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466021)

So far yours is the only one. Too bad there's always at least one stupid first post.

Solution! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465481)

need more nuclear power to cool it!

Re:Solution! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465659)

Nuclear power + Active volcano = Godzilla!

Solution! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465667)

Yes and no tsunami will hit any reactors on a mountain!

Re:Solution! (1)

rossdee (243626) | about two weeks ago | (#47465803)

"Yes and no tsunami will hit any reactors on a mountain!"

No tsunamis, but lahars, pyroclastic flows and lava are probably more dangerous to a reactor

Re:Solution! (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about two weeks ago | (#47466451)

"Yes and no tsunami will hit any reactors on a mountain!"

No tsunamis, but lahars, pyroclastic flows and lava are probably more dangerous to a reactor

Well, if seawater hits a nuclear plant, chances are that radioactive steam will be the result. On the other hand, if ash or molten rock envelopes one, it will probably either A) seal the radioactivity in. B) melt it apart, bringing the fuel geometry to sub-critical mass. Although it is, of course possible that the plant would simply crack open, with the same results that you'd see on earth-faulted land or with water incursion. That is, a plume of radioactive gas or steam.

Still, there's a limit to how close to an active volcano people are willing to live, so the really hot zone (in both senses) would not be as direct a threat to people or livestock.

Re:Solution! (4, Informative)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about two weeks ago | (#47466597)

Still, there's a limit to how close to an active volcano people are willing to live, so the really hot zone (in both senses) would not be as direct a threat to people or livestock.

Tell that the millions in Mexico City, right under the "Popo" volcano or Seattle, not far from Mt Rainier.. If/when those blow, those cities are in deep kimchi... Of course, those pale in comparison to the Yellowstone caldera.. if THAT one blows, at least the western part of the USA has a BIG problem....

Re:Solution! (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about two weeks ago | (#47466941)

You forgot Aetna. But I was thinking more of the zone where the "blessings" of the volcano are more immediate. Like Monserrat.

Re:Solution! (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about two weeks ago | (#47468455)

Mount Nyiragongo is probably the next volcano to cause large scale destruction.

Re:Solution! (2)

Narcocide (102829) | about two weeks ago | (#47466951)

... Of course, those pale in comparison to the Yellowstone caldera.. if THAT one blows, at least the western part of the USA has a BIG problem....

I hate to have to mention this, but if Yellowstone goes, the western part of the USA will be someone ELSE's problem; at minimum, the entire rest of that hemisphere - this is assuming the whole planet doesn't just pop like a zit and crack in half at that point. Most models suggest this would be an extinction level event.

Re:Solution! (1)

steelfood (895457) | about two weeks ago | (#47468317)

If yellowstone blows, the rest of the world would have the big problem. It'd basically start a nuclear winter. The last time one of those supervolcanoes blew, only something like 10% of the human population at that time survived. [wikipedia.org]

Western USA would merely cease to exist.

On the other hand, it'd be just in time to counteract the effects of global warming.

Re:Solution! (1)

lgw (121541) | about two weeks ago | (#47468367)

Well, if seawater hits a nuclear plant, chances are that radioactive steam will be the result. On the other hand, if ash or molten rock envelopes one, it will probably either A) seal the radioactivity in. B) melt it apart, bringing the fuel geometry to sub-critical mass

C) Radioactive rock monsters! Don't you know that rationality has no place in discussions of nuclear power? Next thing you know, you'll be pointing out that Fukushima was a quite minor footnote in the story of the tsunami and the damage it wrought.

Great (4, Funny)

kruach aum (1934852) | about two weeks ago | (#47465513)

I'm leaving for Tokyo later this month. At least is easier to pronounce than Eyjafjallajokull.

racist html (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about two weeks ago | (#47465529)

For some reason it won't let me type mt. Fuji in kanji.

Re:racist html (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465607)

Eyjafjallajokull won't let you type mt. Fuji in kanji? Why would you want to type it anyway? It's an English language website. Unless you really want to show off that you know one of the world's most common languages, I guess.

Re:racist html (2, Interesting)

kruach aum (1934852) | about two weeks ago | (#47465685)

Your inability to correctly interpret simple anaphoric references would make you fail a Turing test.

Re: racist html (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466087)

Someone downmod this nigger loving faggot troll

Re:racist html (1)

Mr Foobar (11230) | about two weeks ago | (#47465635)

For some reason it won't let me type mt. Fuji in kanji.

Re:racist html (1)

Mr Foobar (11230) | about two weeks ago | (#47465639)

Weird. It previewed the three kanji, but on submission it won't display them.

Re:racist html (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465697)

Lol, same happened to me. No Kanji for sashdot. Only invisible ones:

Re:racist html (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465907)

You guys must be new here. There's no Unicode on Slashdot at all.

Re:racist html (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466977)

another reason to use TFBeta...

Re:racist html (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47467011)

Fuck beta

Re:racist html (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466989)

Damn straight. You can't spell ASCII without Amurca!

Fuck Yeah!

Re:racist html (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465827)

According to tlhIngan (30335) [slashdot.org] in post #47460141 [slashdot.org]

Unicode is also supported. It does actually work, just that the whitelist of allowable Unicode codepoints is small. Adding in extra codepoints is on an as-needed basis. You're not likely to see those new emoji anytime soon.

So it is working as long as you count "not allowed" as "working".

Re:racist html (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about two weeks ago | (#47466115)

"working as designed" which is a metaphor for "not a bug, no sir".

Re:racist html (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about two weeks ago | (#47466929)

So it is working as long as you count "not allowed" as "working".

The reason was it was first full Unicode, then a bunch of trolls abused it to screw up page formatting, which was switched to a blacklist. Then they figured out other ways to abuse the codepoints to do even stranger things to the layout, at which points the devs simply gave up and switched it to a whitelist.

It was only until about 2 or 3 years ago that the whitelist was applied on comment entry - you could still find the old comments that screwed up the layout and see them. But as of then, they switched it so display also went through the filter (or they filtered all the comments) so even those comments don't screw up anymore.

If you want, use Google to search for "erocS", or even prepend it with a colon, and optionally a number (e.g., 5:erocS).

E.g. - http://hardware.slashdot.org/c... [slashdot.org]
http://yro.slashdot.org/commen... [slashdot.org]

Just like clbuttic, erocS is actually the reverse of "Score", which if you look at the header of a comment, you'll understand what they did.

Re:racist html (1)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about two weeks ago | (#47467145)

Because there is no kanji for "mt. Fuji"... you have to type fujisan or fujiyama
/badjoke

Re:racist html (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about two weeks ago | (#47467219)

Those evil Iceland volcanoes have their fingers in everything!

Re:Great (4, Interesting)

theVarangian (1948970) | about two weeks ago | (#47465637)

I'm leaving for Tokyo later this month. At least is easier to pronounce than Eyjafjallajokull.

Eyjafjallajökull let's not forget the umlaut...

Re:Great (4, Funny)

CastrTroy (595695) | about two weeks ago | (#47465759)

Thanks. That makes it a whole lot easier to pronounce. It's so obvious now.

Re:Great (1)

stjobe (78285) | about two weeks ago | (#47466601)

It's not actually that hard to pronounce, "ey-a fjell-a yo-cull" is close enough.

"Fu-dji" is probably still easier though ;)

Re:Great (4, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about two weeks ago | (#47467279)

On a serious note - it's actually very easy to pronounce. You just need to think of it properly - three separate words.

Eyja Fjalla Jökull.

It's actually a limitation of our brain. We can manage words up to reasonable length, and after that, we have to switch to far less efficient general abstraction instead of specialized brain centres. To avoid this limitation, slice the word into manageable pieces and you will find it very easy to pronounce once your task-specific brain centre handles it.

This is the same thing as trying to do the math on 7*8 versus 78*87.

Re:Great (2)

aevan (903814) | about two weeks ago | (#47468007)

Eyja Fjalla Jökull

Isn't that how you summon a Deep One?

Nordic Nerd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47469003)

living in his mom's basement? :D

Re:Great (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about two weeks ago | (#47468475)

I think it has more to do with the fact that I am an English speaker and it has letter groups I'm not accustomed to seeing together. EyjafjallajÃkull has 16 letters. An example of an English word with 16 letters would be "conservationists". It's quite easy to read because my brain breaks it up into letter groups that occur often in English. Groups like con, and tion, and ist occur all over the place and therefore make the word easy to recognize. EyjafjallajÃkull on the other hand doesn't have any common letter groups I would normall see in english. I don't even know how to properly pronounce Eyja or fja. The only part that's really familiar to English speakers is alla, and perhaps kull. Combine that with the j that sounds like y (does that mean y sounds like j?) and it makes the word quite difficult to read for non-native speakers.

Re: Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47468841)

Actually, you're even more off. The double l in Icelandic is pronounced like a "dly" of sorts.

Re:Great (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about two weeks ago | (#47469027)

"Eyja Fjalla JÃkull." Wow...that didn't help at all. I'm sure to you it looks perfectly reasonable, but to anyone who doesn't speak your obscure language, it looks like a cat walked on the keyboard.

Re:Great (1)

Goaway (82658) | about two weeks ago | (#47467875)

Oh, you want to be pedantic? Let's be pedantic, then!

Scandinavian languages don't have "umlauts". "Umlaut" is a concept from German, where vowels are modified into different forms and marked with an umlaut mark. Other languages, however, just borrow these typographical forms to represent vowels with similar sounds. However, while German considers the vowels a and ä to be variations on the same letter, Scandinavian languages consider these to be separate letters entirely, and place them differently in alphabetical orderings.

Thus, there is no "umlaut" in Eyjafjallajökull, there is merely an "ö" rather than an "o".

Re:Great (1)

theVarangian (1948970) | about two weeks ago | (#47469119)

Oh, you want to be pedantic? Let's be pedantic, then!

Scandinavian languages don't have "umlauts". "Umlaut" is a concept from German, where vowels are modified into different forms and marked with an umlaut mark. Other languages, however, just borrow these typographical forms to represent vowels with similar sounds. However, while German considers the vowels a and ä to be variations on the same letter, Scandinavian languages consider these to be separate letters entirely, and place them differently in alphabetical orderings.

Thus, there is no "umlaut" in Eyjafjallajökull, there is merely an "ö" rather than an "o".

In Icelandic 'o' and 'ö' are fairly subtle variations on the same sound, the difference betwee 'o' and 'ö' is only a matter of moving your tongue about 4-5mm forward. Icelandic is near near-isomorphic with with Ancient Norse to the point where some Icelanders can actually stumble their way through inscriptions transcribed into modern alphabet from rune stones over a thousand years old and many can read 12-13th century manuscripts similarly transcribed to modern alphabet pretty clearly, in fact teenagers in Iceland are sometimes required to read portions of sagas in the original medieval Icelandic in secondary school. You can consider Icelandic as something akin to a modern dialect of Ancient Norse whereas the modern Scandinavian languages on the other hand have evolved very far from the original Ancient Norse. The difference is about the same as between modern English and the language spoken in the UK in the 10-13 century. Come to think of it an Icelander would probably have much better luck reading early medieval English than a modern English person. Try getting a Norwegian, Swede or Dane to read a 13th century Icelandic saga manuscript and you'd not have much luck either.

Potential greater than ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465517)

I doubt the potential is greater now than it was during the 1707-08 eruption.

Re:Potential greater than ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465673)

I doubt the potential is greater now than it was during the 1707-08 eruption.

Yeah, I thought the summary was a bit long winded, FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES! MOUNT FUJI IS ABOUT TO BLOW! would have been shorter and more to the point.

Re:Potential greater than ever? (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about two weeks ago | (#47466141)

I don't know, that eruption doesn't sound that bad. In fact, there wasn't even any lava flow.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

This potential one has already had higher intensity earthquakes, 9 vs 8.2. That's almost an order of magnitude larger.

volcano (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465519)

How stupid do you have to be to live next to an active volcano.

Re:volcano (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465543)

not stupid - just a bad choice in parents. I cannot blame them, my decision was no better.

Re:volcano (3, Insightful)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about two weeks ago | (#47465583)

Ask someone from Seattle

Re:volcano (2)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about two weeks ago | (#47466645)

Ask someone from Seattle

Or Mexico City... It has Popocatépetl just down the street.. Arguably the most dangerous volcano in North America...

Re:volcano (2)

istartedi (132515) | about two weeks ago | (#47467841)

Ask someone from Seattle

Ask someone from the entire central US. Yellowstone's "next to" is pretty large when you consider the projected ash fall from a major eruption. Aside from that, the knock-on effect on food supply and weather would have global consequences, so I guess we're all pretty "stupid".

Re:volcano (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47468103)

Metals, minerals, fertile ground and naturally warm water during winters might persuade most adventurers. I'd hate to see an explosive eruption of the mountain to ruin that scenery. No more pretty postcards. Also I wouldn't want to be the Shinto priest trying to explain to the people why the eruption destroyed their holy mountain.

.. not in italy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465571)

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/10/22/italian-court-convicts-7-scientists-for-failing-to-predict-earthquake/

[...]They have no way of predicting when an eruption might happen[...]

Re:.. not in italy (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about two weeks ago | (#47467301)

They were convicted for making statements that earthquake will not happen, which caused people to not prepare and react appropriately. It was still pretty messed up, but it's nowhere near as bad as faux news makes it sound.

Re:.. not in italy (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about two weeks ago | (#47469259)

> They were convicted for making statements that earthquake will not happen

And they actually made such statements? Or, perhaps they merely said that "as far as science knows, the probability of an earthquake is no larger than, say, last year". The whole thing looked like a witch hunt to blame someone for damages which were caused by natural causes, because no politician is going to get up in front of the electorate and actually tell them "Sorry, there is a very small chance that large numbers of people in our country could die from X, Y, or Z and there is no practical way to prevent these dangers."

It frankly looked like scientists sacrificed on the stage of security theater.

Um... (2, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about two weeks ago | (#47465695)

They have no way of predicting when an eruption might happen, but the potential seems greater than ever.

They say they can't predict it, then in the same sentence predict it. Amazing.

Re:Um... (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about two weeks ago | (#47465745)

They say they can't predict it, then in the same sentence predict it. Amazing.

They say they can't predict it, and then they don't. They only say that it seems more likely than ever before. Then you fail to read. Sadly, not amazing, nor unusual.

Re:Um... (0, Troll)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about two weeks ago | (#47465955)

They are predicting that it is getting close to an eruption. That's a prediction. Perhaps you were expecting the actual date of the eruption, but to qualify as a prediction they only need to anticipate some aspect of its future behaviour in some way.

From OED:
Predict
VERB

[WITH OBJECT]
Say or estimate that (a specified thing) will happen in the future or will be a consequence of something

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466839)

Okay, maybe you're not a native English speaker... but this sentence:

They have no way of predicting when an eruption might happen, but the potential seems greater than ever.

Generally means this:

They have no way of predicting the exact date an eruption might happen, but the potential seems greater than ever.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47467077)

Oh fuck off, you pedantic twat.

Someone said something that could possibly be construed as being incorrect, ambiguous or inconsistent on the internet ... OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

Re:Um... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about two weeks ago | (#47467923)

You might be able to use a dictionary, but you clearly lack reading comprehension. A prediction, to qualify as any sort of useful prediction, requires some bit of information that can be acted on. What they said was that the odds of Mt Fuji blowing up increased, but we have no idea by how much or how that would translate into an actual date.

Furthermore, they didn't say that it got close to an eruption, but that the odds increased. Put down the dictionary, and pay more attention to what you read.

Re:Um... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465995)

They say they can't predict it, then in the same sentence predict it. Amazing.

They say they can't predict it, and then they don't. They only say that it seems more likely than ever before.

And that's a prediction.

Then you fail to read. Sadly, not amazing, nor unusual.

Oh internet, so fast on the useless attacks. Will there be a day when people keep it civil?

Re:Um... (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | about two weeks ago | (#47466025)

And that's a prediction.

If the water in your kettle is hotter than it's ever been before, then you know it's closer to boiling than it ever has been before. You can say that without announcing the time at which it will boil, or even whether it will boil. And that's why it isn't a prediction.

Oh internet, so fast on the useless attacks. Will there be a day when people keep it civil?

That day will have to come after people start R'ing TFA and understanding it before posting. But in fact, I was perfectly civil. I may have misstated the case slightly, however. He may have read the article, and simply failed to understand what he read. I don't want to attribute to one type of incompetence what is actually due to another.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466199)

You can say that without announcing the time at which it will boil, or even whether it will boil. And that's why it isn't a prediction.

Using the definition of prediction in AmiMoJo's post (which you ignored... why?):

Say or estimate that (a specified thing) will happen in the future or will be a consequence of something

Your estimation may never come to fruition, but it was still a prediction. It is pretty obvious, and if you were intellectually honest you would concede. But after you said he/she usually fails to read, it gets more difficult, isn't it?

But in fact, I was perfectly civil.

It is because you actually believe that that the internet has mostly negatively toned comments. Lack of empathy.

Re:Um... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about two weeks ago | (#47466251)

Using the definition of prediction in AmiMoJo's post (which you ignored... why?):

In fact, I used it as my guide.

Your estimation may never come to fruition, but it was still a prediction.

They said it was more likely, they did not say how much more likely it was. Thus, they did not in fact make an estimate. You want words to mean things that they don't mean, to support your argument.

It is because you actually believe that that the internet has mostly negatively toned comments. Lack of empathy.

Civil discourse does not mean never pointing out a fault or a flaw. Criticism is an absolute necessity for progress.

Re:Um... (1)

neurovish (315867) | about two weeks ago | (#47466121)

They have no way of predicting when an eruption might happen, but the potential seems greater than ever.

They say they can't predict it, then in the same sentence predict it. Amazing.

It only seems that way....like somebody was sitting there looking at Mt. Fuji and got the willies.

Re:Um... (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | about two weeks ago | (#47466417)

Okay. You have a full 2-liter soda bottle. You drop it from hip height to the floor. The shock releases dissolved gas, increasing the pressure in the bottle. Now pick it up and drop it again. And again.

At some point the bottle will fail and the soda will erupt.

Can you say on which drop? Can you say how it will fail (split seam, pinhole rupture that expands, cap failure?)

No? But you can say that it likely will if the behavior continues.

Lets take another example, say HDD failure. Any HDD will fail, at some point. Is it head failure? Bearing failure? Temperature damage to the media? You do not know, but you can say it WILL fail.

So, nice troll attempt, but it falls flat.

Re:Um... (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about two weeks ago | (#47466623)

On the first drop of the bottle the cap loosens slightly but stays in place. The bottle hisses as some of the pressure is released. When you pick it up awhile later and drop it again, the pressure has mostly equalized, but a second drop, and it hisses some more. A little while later you pick up the bottle which is now full of flat soda.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47467765)

In that scenario, the bottle failed on the first drop. It just wasn't a catastrophic failure, it was just a failure to 'maintain grip' on the lid.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47467733)

I was rolling a 20-sided die, and I needed a six. Now I've switched to a six-sided die. I keep rolling. I can't say when I'll get a six; but the potential seems greater than ever.

The situation is directly analogous, and I'm not predicting a damned thing.

Re: Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47468893)

Just don't switch to 4-sided dice...

Fukushima (-1)

MrKaos (858439) | about two weeks ago | (#47465747)

Reactor 4 spent fuel cooling pool contains 1500 spent Mox fuel rods. Any seismic activity large enough to threaten the stability of that structure introduces the risk of a plutonium fire fueled by several hundred tons of mox fuel. A storage facility near it contains another 6000 spent mox fuel rods. The smoke of the fire is plutonium oxide and chloride which is fatal to humans at doses of 1-10 micrograms.

There is little doubt that if that happens at Fukushima the fallout would be carried by the jetstream over the US and, eventually the entire Northern hemisphere.

This is the potential consequence that has not been spelled out.

Re: Fukushima (1)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465941)

Yay DOOM! I haven't had good fallout training since the 1980's.

How much will the US put on the military game board to keep China from taking Japan while its still toasty? China doesn't like Japanese anyway so the volcano is doing them a favor.

Do volcanos count toward Global Warming???

Re:Fukushima (0)

MrKaos (858439) | about two weeks ago | (#47466015)

Reactor 4 spent fuel cooling pool contains 1500 spent Mox fuel rods. Any seismic activity large enough to threaten the stability of that structure introduces the risk of a plutonium fire fueled by several hundred tons of mox fuel. A storage facility near it contains another 6000 spent mox fuel rods. The smoke of the fire is plutonium oxide and chloride which is fatal to humans at doses of 1-10 micrograms.

There is little doubt that if that happens at Fukushima the fallout would be carried by the jetstream over the US and, eventually the entire Northern hemisphere.

This is the potential consequence that has not been spelled out.

You can mod the facts down, however it won't change the consequences or make it any less real.

Re:Fukushima (1)

Artifakt (700173) | about two weeks ago | (#47467057)

Obviously, Pu oxide is a common result of reaction with either atmospheric O2 or splitting H20 used to try and cool the burning plutonium. But where does the Chlorine potentially come from, salt in sea water? It sounds like you're describing a risk where at least part of it is specific to plants that might be either inundated by the sea or catch fire and have sea water pumped in to put it out, but I'm far from sure if that's actually what you mean. Is the point here that we are equally screwed whether a plant is on/near a seacoast or not, or that inland plants might be somewhat safer?

Re:Fukushima (-1)

MrKaos (858439) | about two weeks ago | (#47466081)

Reactor 4 spent fuel cooling pool contains 1500 spent Mox fuel rods. Any seismic activity large enough to threaten the stability of that structure introduces the risk of a plutonium fire fueled by several hundred tons of mox fuel. A storage facility near it contains another 6000 spent mox fuel rods. The smoke of the fire is plutonium oxide and chloride which is fatal to humans at doses of 1-10 micrograms.

There is little doubt that if that happens at Fukushima the fallout would be carried by the jetstream over the US and, eventually the entire Northern hemisphere.

This is the potential consequence that has not been spelled out.

How many mod points do the Nuclear shills today?

Re:Fukushima (1)

khallow (566160) | about two weeks ago | (#47466311)

It's worth noting that the magnitude 9 earthquake didn't come close to threatening the stability of the cooling ponds. So you're looking for a much bigger earthquake in a region that already released most of its geologically built up energy in a magnitude 9 earthquake.

There is little doubt that if that happens at Fukushima the fallout would be carried by the jetstream over the US and, eventually the entire Northern hemisphere.

Because obviously, Japan will forgot how to pump water. A few diesel generators and some hose means that your scenario doesn't happen - even if you somehow came up with the huge earthquake and the structural failure.

Re:Fukushima (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about two weeks ago | (#47466401)

Facts matter little to the FUD mongers.

Re:Fukushima (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about two weeks ago | (#47466515)

They didn't forget, bureaucracy stalled the process until the buildings started exploding.

Re:Fukushima (3, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about two weeks ago | (#47466457)

Hmm, a quick bit of research finds that MOX fuel rods are basically PuO2, which doesn't do the pyrophoric thing - it's stable in dry air, heats up slowly in the presence of water vapor.

Which at least suggests that the panic at the thought of a Pu fire is a bit exaggerated....

Note also that spent fuel rods have rather less Pu in them than you might think, since most of it has been burned in the nuclear reactor before it became "spent".

Re:Fukushima (1)

muridae (966931) | about two weeks ago | (#47469747)

A storage facility near it contains another 6000 spent mox fuel rods. The smoke of the fire is plutonium oxide and chloride which is fatal to humans at doses of 1-10 micrograms.

There is little doubt that if that happens at Fukushima the fallout would be carried by the jetstream over the US and, eventually the entire Northern hemisphere.

How many tons is that 6000 spent rods? Then remember exactly how big the Pacific Ocean is and how large, comparatively, a microgram is. A microgram is only 10^-12 of a ton, area crossed is a square fall off rate.

Could it immediately pollute the ocean and cause problems? Sure! Would the fall-out in the ocean cause a long term problem? Not unless there is way more than I expect from those fuel rods; the ocean is huge! One third of the Earth's surface, over half of the salt water on Earth; and you are worried about the toxins that humans failed to plan for when a volcano that's been dormant for a long history suddenly might be a little closer to eruption? Be worried about the loss of life from the volcano going off, and the loss of life from the climate change that a large eruption would cause (famine, loss of utilities, etc).

Or, if you must be scared of nuclear stuff, be scared of the fall out from all the nuke warheads and fuel stored close enough to Yellowstone that would be vaporized in the expected eruption.

Light 'em up (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about two weeks ago | (#47465755)

"Oooh look, incendiary rounds! Gotta try these out at the range!" - God

Re:Light 'em up (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about two weeks ago | (#47467315)

We should expect meteors?

It's over 9000 (2)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about two weeks ago | (#47465885)

The only thing missing from this breathless article was an animation of a scientist inspecting a piece of monitoring equipment, watching the needle bury itself, and screaming "it's over 9000!!!"

Relieve pressure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465923)

Has anyone tried to pre-emptively relieve the pressure in volcanoes so they never erupt? Could probably use that hot magma in some sort of thermal electricity generator too.

Re:Relieve pressure? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about two weeks ago | (#47466093)

>> Haz (tap that magma)... thermal electricity generator...?

Yes, this guy: http://is.gd/8w8Rjo [is.gd]

Re:Relieve pressure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466325)

It's called fracking..... Creates a lot of small harmless earthquakes apparently.

Re:Relieve pressure? (1)

higuita (129722) | about two weeks ago | (#47466489)

you have at least to extract the gas, that is very dangerous and turn a calm volcano into a explosive one... drilling is hard, as it too depth and too hot... explosions could help for the final steps, but even the small breach, at that depth, can cause the critical failure and a full eruption ... even if manage to do it, injecting huge amount of water to extract the heat it would only extract a very small quantity of the total, remember that there are volcanos under water too. Also, cooling one side might just deflect the magma flow to other place, creating more quakes, and create a new volcano where you really don't want.

Re:Relieve pressure? (5, Interesting)

skydyr (1404883) | about two weeks ago | (#47466719)

Part of the problem with trying to relieve the pressure is that many eruptions occur because of gases suspended in the magma. Once the pressure drops enough, the gas ceases to be soluble in the magma and it's the expansion of the gas that causes the violent eruption. It follows that relieving the pressure could easily trigger the eruption you are trying to prevent in this case. Whether this is the actual cause of an eruption in a specific case is dependent on the volcano, I believe, and is implicated in the more explosive ones, as opposed to the gentler flowing eruptions found with others.

Mt. Miyajima? (4, Interesting)

superflippy (442879) | about two weeks ago | (#47466237)

Mt. Fuji is more well known, but I wonder how all this seismic activity is affecting Mt. Miyajima in the southern part of Japan? It's another active volcano, one I visited in the 90's. It was actively smoking at the time, and surrounded by lava beds.

Re:Mt. Miyajima? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47468263)

What about Mt Midoriyama?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sasuke_(TV_series)

Re:Mt. Miyajima? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about two weeks ago | (#47468509)

Considering Miyajima is in the south, away from all the geological activity farther up north, the effect of the earthquakes will not be nearly as great.

Then again, volcanoes are an unpredictable thing. Even minor shifts of the crust can have major implications, if the shifting, however minor, is just right. Sometimes, it's a matter of when. But I'm sure there are instruments monitoring these things. If there was any change detected, it'd be on the news as well.

Tectonic Clickbait FTW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466455)

Dicedotastic.

Can't they just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47466607)

...dig little holes in the ground to let out the steam?

Re:Can't they just... (1)

afeeney (719690) | about two weeks ago | (#47466963)

As I understand it, by the time you reach the steam, you've gone deeper than most drilling equipment can go and gotten hot enough to melt most drills. Worse, you can't safely predict the results of releasing that much pressure, especially since there's no reliable way of imaging what you're drilling into at that depth and heat level.

Re:Can't they just... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47468241)

AFAIK the steamy part is just ground water being heated by the magma. The actual magma is what has to be released to relieve pressure. If you could actually vent magma, you'd simply be initiating the eruption. That said, if you've got Tokyo on one side and lightly populated land on the other, and you could control which way an explosion went, there might be some value in that. It's going to erupt no matter what though, and controlling the direction is either beyond our technology, or if we could use thermonuclear weapons to direct it that'd be impolitic. Just what Japan needs--more nuking.

Frack It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47468183)

They keep saying that fracking triggers small earthquakes to relieve the pressure build up that would have resulted in a larger earthquake. Wouldn't this be a good test case to prevent a natural disaster?

Re:Frack It (1)

American Patent Guy (653432) | about two weeks ago | (#47469201)

No, it wouldn't be a testcase at all because you'd have no idea whether you had succeeded, or whether natural geology relieved the pressure on its own.

Critical state? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about two weeks ago | (#47468415)

Try rebooting it.

uh oh (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about two weeks ago | (#47468499)

I don't even need to google it or check in any way to see if people are dumb enough to still live near it. Somehow, deep down, I just know they are. I bet their property values just dropped a bit too.

Likely effects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47468735)

Tokyo would get a lot of ash, but it's way too far away for lava to be an issue. It would be an enormous mess, and transportation would be affected, but people wouldn't be in a Pompei situation. Probably, secondary earthquakes would be the biggest issue.

On the other hand, if it erupts in the summer, during climbing season, a fair number of people could die right on the mountain. And there are a lot of towns and people who live much closer to Fuji than Tokyo. They'd be in more danger.

I'm fine with it blowing up Japan... AFTER (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47469577)

They make Magipoka season two and Spice and Wolf season 3.

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