– Fukushima quake/tsunami disturbed upper atmosphere – NASA (Chicago Tribune/Reuters, May 30, 2012):
WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) – The massive earthquake and
tsunami that hit Fukushima, Japan, last year wreaked havoc in
the skies above as well, disturbing electrons in the upper
atmosphere, NASA reported.
The waves of energy from the quake and tsunami that were so
destructive on the ground reached into the ionosphere, a part of
the upper atmosphere that stretches from about 50 to 500 miles
(80 to 805 km) above Earth’s surface.
The ionosphere is the last, thinnest part of the atmosphere,
where solar ultraviolet radiation breaks up molecules and leaves
a haze of electrons and ions.
In images released on Friday, NASA showed how the earthly
disturbances from the March 11, 2011, quake and tsunami were
echoed in the movement of electrons far aloft. This movement was
monitored by tracking the GPS signals between satellites and
Scientists have seen this phenomenon before, for tsunamis in
Samoa in 2009 and Chile in 2010. The Japanese event, however,
occurred in a region more closely monitored by a dense network
of GPS receivers, NASA said in a statement.
Still images of the disturbance are online at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA14430.
Video is available at http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=144582391.