Earthquake Poem

February 29th, 2012 -- Posted in Earthquakes | No Comments »

A close relative, YaVaughnie Wilkins, knowing my love and respect for the power of Mother Nature, bid on and won a very special bottle of wine for me at a charity auction.  The California wine is called Earthquake.  She knew I would love it by the name alone.  However, when I visited the vineyard’s website I learned that “The original Earthquake Zin comes from an old Lodi vineyard planted around the time of San Francisco’s great Earthquake in 1906. The vineyard owners thought it fitting to relate the wine name with the historical quake.”

Not only that, but the bottle itself has a poem that pays homage to earth (land and soil) and earthquakes.  I’ve posted the mesmerizing poem below.  Oh, and the wine is yummy, too.


Old Lodi wines, yielding supreme

Like ancient volcanoes releasing their steam.

Danger is present, felt but unseen

Vines of such power, such high self-esteem.

Intentionally hostile, purposefully bold

Nice not an option when truth must be told.

Energy captured, awaiting release

Zinfandel Vines, the great seismic beasts.

Instilling such fear, a risk few will take

Nothing prepares you for the Zinfandel Quake.

Kevin Phillips–

East Coast Earthquake Rattles Washington, DC

August 23rd, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes | No Comments »

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck Virginia at 1:51 pm EDT. The quake was centered near Mineral, Virginia, northwest of Richmond and located about 87 miles from Washington, D.C. The tremor rattled the nation’s capital, causing the evacuation of the White House, Pentagon, Capitol, and other government buildings. Shaking was also felt by residents in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; and as far as New York. The FAA has grounded flights in Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York airports.

According to the WFSB news in Hartford, Connecticut, witnesses in New Haven said lights and props inside Long Wharf Theatre began to sway, and a witness in South Windsor said blinds shook as she watched television inside her home. Several businesses in the state were evacuated after the earthquake. Reports of possible damage to buildings in Virginia are coming in and reports of damage to the National Cathedral are confirmed.

A 12:15 tweet from Denise Addis, Morristown Patch’s “Around the Loop” columnist, “It was bad here on South Street; my building evacuated in like 10 seconds, everyone went running.”

According to the U.S. G.S. the quake occurred half a mile deep. A. U.S.G.S. earthquake hazard map shows Washington, DC and Virginia are not high danger zones for earthquakes.

New Earthquake Fault Discovered

June 17th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

Another earthquake fault was discovered near Truckee, California, a town about 35 miles from Reno. Using laser imaging technology, the scientists with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discovered the fault while they were inspecting the Martis Creek Dam, a dam that already had major safety concerns due to considerable leakage and it’s proximity to three fault zones.

Strike-Slip Fault

Named Polaris, the new fault is an active 22-mile long strike-slip fault. The last time Polaris caused an earthquake was 15,000 years ago. Lewis Hunter, a senior geologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, says the fault could trigger a 6.5 to 6.9 magnitude earthquake. But because the fault connects to others, the magnitude could be even higher if they ruptured at the same time. Polaris holds the added potential of producing a flood if the Martis Creek Dam is damaged during quake activity.

Though the discovery of Polaris was unexpected, scientists claim there are hundreds of unknown faults around the world.

Volcano Erupts in Chile

June 5th, 2011 -- Posted in Volcanoes | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

The eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle volcano chain has prompted the mass evacuation of thousands of residents in southern Chile. Located about 500 miles south of the capital, Santiago, the eruption has spewed volumes of smoke and ash. So far no lava flows have been observed.

Chile Volcano Eruption

As the strong smell of sulfur filled the air, officials said the volcano was spitting molten rock. Witnesses reported experiencing more than 20 earthquakes. No injuries have been reported.

“The Cordon Caulle (volcanic range) has entered an eruptive process, with an explosion resulting in a 10-kilometer-high gas column,” Chilean state emergency office ONEMI said. According to MSNBC, it was not immediately clear which of the chain’s four volcanoes had erupted because of ash cover and weather conditions.

The chain last saw a major eruption in 1960. Chile’s chain of about 2,000 volcanoes is the world’s second largest after Indonesia. Some 50 to 60 are on record as having erupted. Chile’s Chaiten volcano erupted in 2008 for the first time in thousands of years. Chile’s Llaima volcano, one of South America’s most active, erupted in 2008 and 2009.

Deadliest Twister in U.S. Since 1947

May 30th, 2011 -- Posted in Tornado | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

On May 22, 2011 an EF-5 tornado slammed into Joplin, Missouri, demolishing everything in its path. An EF-5 is the strongest rating possible. The twister is responsible for 139 fatalities and 100 people remain unaccounted for. The twister that destroyed a third of the city of nearly 50,000 residents also injured more than 900 people.

Joplin, Missouri Tornado aftermath

According to the New York Times, the Joplin tornado was part of a weather system in which cold and warm fronts crashed together throughout the middle of the country, creating conditions that spawned “supercell” thunderstorms. Even though the supercell is the rarest of storm types, it is the most dangerous because of the extreme weather generated.

The Weather Channel forecasts widespread and severe thunderstorms throughout the Memorial Day holiday in the Plains and Upper Midwest. So far tornados in May 2011 have killed 10 in Oklahoma (May 24), 2 people in Kansas (May 24), 6 people in Arkansas (May 24).

Tornado Devastates the City of Joplin, Missouri

May 24th, 2011 -- Posted in Tornado | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

On Sunday, May 22, 2011 a tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri stripping trees, hurling vehicles, and damaging homes. Rescue workers toiled through the night, sifting through the rubble, hoping to find survivors. According to the Weather Channel, 10 survivors were pulled from the debris. But at least 116 lives have been claimed in the nation’s deadliest single twister in 60 years and the second major tornado disaster in less than a month. The tornado tore a path a mile wide and four miles long. The National Weather Service stated the storm had winds of 190 to 198 miles per hour.

Joplin, Missouri Tornado Wreckage with American Flag

The Huffington Post has a terrifying video of a first-person account of the tornado. People in a convenience store ran into a storage cooler as the tornado ripped the building apart. They recorded the experience while deafening sounds of the destruction paralyzed them and the tornado threatened their lives. Miraculously none of them were seriously hurt.

Honeymooners Survive Six Natural Disasters

April 25th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | 1 Comment »

by Victoria M. Johnson

Stefan And Erika Svanstrom of Sweden planned a perfect four-month long honeymoon… but Mother Nature intervened.  The couple wed on November 27, 2010 and a week later, with their infant daughter in tow, they set off for a 16-country adventure. “Our plan was to get a lot of sun and beach-life early in the trip, and experience nature and culture later in the trip. Some of the destinations were chosen for the diving, as we are both keen to go scuba diving,” Stefan said, “leaving plenty of time to explore.”

The Svanstroms left Stockholm in December and became stranded for a night in Munich, Germany due to a severe snowstorm, one of Europe’s worst blizzards. The newlyweds enjoyed China and Thailand, but in Bali, Indonesia, a relentless monsoon kept them indoors for days. Another natural disaster awaited in Cairns, Australia where a catastrophic cyclone forced them to join a group shelter with thousands of people. “Trees were being knocked over and big branches were scattered across the streets,” Stefan said. Once the family arrived in Brisbane, massive flooding had put much of the city underwater. The Svanstroms then narrowly escaped bush fires in Perth.

Flooding After the Cyclone in Cairns

Moving on, the family arrived in New Zealand, just after the 6.3 quake hit Christchurch on February 22. Their last ordeal was in Tokyo, where they experienced Japan’s largest quake ever recorded and the resulting calamitous tsunami. “The trembling was horrible… we saw roof tiles fly off buildings,” Stefan said. (He also survived the devastating tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in 2004).

The couple said the most emotionally upsetting experience during the trip had been the Japanese earthquake and its consequences. “Oh – we’re very grateful that nothing happened to the family and we think a lot about the people, particularly in Japan,” Erika said.

The Svanstroms returned to Stockholm on March 29, 2011 after an uneventful final stop in China. “Although we’ve had some bad luck, we still have our lives. Our thoughts are with those who couldn’t escape these disasters. In the end, we are very fortunate to be alive,” Stefan said. The family plans to continue their travels in the future.

Important Update: Relief Efforts for Japan

March 16th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

Today at 9:30 a.m. on my Grant Whisperer’s Blog Talk Radio Show, special guest Barb Larkin, CEO American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter, provided excellent details about the situation in Japan and also provided the valuable numbers below.

To find information about friends or loved ones in Japan go to:

Let me repeat that: If anyone you know is still waiting to hear about their loved ones in Japan, refer them to the above web site!

To text a donation text REDCROSS to 90999. The donation is $10 per text and will appear on your monthly bill or will be debited from your prepaid account.

For online donations go to: or call 1-877-727-6771

The recorded episode, Special Guest – Barb Larkin, Air Date March 16, 2011, can be listened to at any time.

Aftermath of Japan quake and tsunami

Barb talked about the disaster in Japan, what the Red Cross is doing to support the relief efforts, disaster fundraising, and how people can help. Barb Larkin is the CEO of the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter. Previously, Barb served as Director of Donor Services, Director of Development, and manager of the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund at Community Foundation Silicon Valley. Barb has been an American Red Cross volunteer for over 16 years and is a trained Disaster Fundraising Officer. She is a member of American Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resources system having worked on several disasters including Hurricane Katrina, the San Bernardino wildfires, and Hurricane George.

Tune in to the Blog Talk Radio episode to hear about the relief efforts.

Japan 2011 Quake and Tsunami Update

March 14th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

10,000 people are now feared dead. As the heartbreaking news of the enormous loss of life unfolds, strong aftershocks (6.2 magnitude) continue to strike and the nuclear power plant meltdown threats increase (though officials insist the reactors remain intact). To add further to the images of desolation, Japan now has hundreds of thousands of survivors without food, water and electricity. As if all this wasn’t enough to break the spirit, tsunami warnings broke out again in the Fukishima area.

A Collapsed Home After the Japan Quake and Tsunami

Reports have come out that the village hardest hit, Minamisanriku, had residents who received a 30-minute warning between the 8.9 earthquake and the tsunami. Thirty minutes to recover from a violent shaking of the earth, gather loved ones, and escape. Those residents then tried to flee the village all at the same time, blocking roadways and becoming trapped. As families still wait to hear from loved ones, they can only hope and pray.

Aftermath of Catastrophic Quake and Tsunami

March 12th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Natural Disasters, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

The situation keeps worsening in Japan. Not only did Friday’s quake and resulting tsunami ravage Japan’s eastern coast, but now 686 are confirmed dead and 9,500 people are missing from the coastal village of Minamisanriku. Authorities confirmed that only about 7,500 residents were evacuated from the village of 17,000 residents.

Man Devastated by Japan 2011 Quake and Tsunami

Officials are still evaluating the calamitous damage. Shaking from the 8.9 quake, the force of the 32-foot high raging tsunami, over a hundred aftershocks and fires. According to AOL News AP report, four whole trains are missing. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano says, “Our estimates based on reported cases alone suggest that more than 1,000 people have lost their lives in the disaster. Unfortunately, the actual damage could far exceed that number considering the difficulty assessing the full extent of damage.”

Aided by emergency responders from dozens of countries, 50,000 Japanese troops have joined the rescue and recovery efforts. More than 215,000 people are living in temporary shelters in five prefectures (states). And more than 170,000 were evacuated from their homes due to the threat of radiation from a nuclear power plant malfunction.

Tragedy in Japan Continues

March 11th, 2011 -- Posted in Earthquakes, Tsunami | No Comments »

by Victoria M. Johnson

Earthquake, tsunamis, fires, aftershocks, and now a looming nuclear power plant disaster. Japan has been hammered in the last 24 hours. As the death toll rises and reports of over 700 hundred missing and thousands injured continues, we can only imagine what the survivors are experiencing.

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) map on 11 March 2011 shows the predicted travel times of the tsunami.

The USGS reports that since the 8.9 earthquake hit Japan, at least 124 quakes magnitude 5 or higher have rattled the area. But it could be worse in the disaster-struck country. According to the New York Times, “from seawalls that line stretches of Japan’s coastline, to skyscrapers that sway to absorb earthquakes, to building codes that are among the world’s most rigorous, no country may be better prepared to withstand earthquakes than Japan.”

However, the quake has forced the closure of five nuclear power plants in Japan. Kyodo News reported at 2:00pm that radiation 1,000 times higher than normal is being detected at the Fukushima nuclear plant. interviewed, Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s just as bad as it sounds,” he said. But Steve Kerekes, spokesman for the U.S.-based Nuclear Energy Institute, said that while the situation was serious, a meltdown remains unlikely.