Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Return to Kamchatka, Week 1

View from my office window at the
Institute of Volcanology and Seismology
Ah, it took me some effort to get to the English version of Blogspot... now called blogger?

It's the deep of winter in Kamchatka (in Russian we would say "on Kamchatka" because it's a peninsula, or logistically an island) so it's hard for me to say "in" Kamchatka). This is my third winter here, the prior two being sabbaticals (2001 and 2010), this current one sponsored by the U.S. Fulbright Program
"The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."

My two primary objectives during this six-month (!) visit are to conduct research and writing with colleagues, particularly Tanya Pinegina, and to work with students and young colleagues on their technical English, likely using examples from natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.  And of course to represent the U.S. and learn more about my Russian counterparts.

Kamchatka is not an easy place to reach from the U.S., particularly in winter, even though it's not far at all from Seattle, my usual home. At times there have been direct summer flights from Anchorage, mostly for hunters and fishers, but also for volcanologists and seismologists (and paleoseismologists like me) and for petroleum workers going on to Sakhalin.  Alternatives from Seattle include going west, e.g., via Seoul (and once via Beijing!), with intermediate stops in Vladivostok or Khabarovsk.  And about as far from Moscow as you can get!  I've been told that if you misbehaved in school in Russia (USSR), you would be sent to the back corner, also known as being sent to Kamchatka.

So this time I flew via Moscow, that is: Seattle-Amsterdam-Moscow-Petropavlovsk.   [Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy on the scale of this map is near the southeastern tip--the first bay north--more later about PKC].  My itinerary put me at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow from about 5 PM to 5 PM, technically 24 hours, but not really, given logistics of arrival and departure, so, even though there is now a train into Moscow from Sheremetyevo, I opted to stay in a hotel attached to the airport, joined by my colleague, co-author, friend and common visitor to Seattle, volcanologist Vera Ponomareva.
View of my departure terminal from my hotel room.
Well, what to do besides enjoy eachothers' company and get some sleep?  Of course we had to go to the local Starbuck's, near the entrance to the train from the airport terminal.  There has been so much development at Sheremetyevo since I was last here.  Just the short corridor from my hotel to the train entrace had three different coffee shops, a couple small eating places, souvenir shops, and of course ATMs and phone stores.  I bought a Russian cell phone and a Moscow sim card, later replaced by a Kamchatka sim card upon arrival in Petropavlovsk.

Back to Starbuck's, it had its familiarities and its differences, particularly all the drinks written out in quite fancy cyrillic, except for one board in English.  The coffee-master, Olya, had been to Maryland for training; she and her baristas seemed very excited to hear that we had been to Pike Place Market (what is it like?) and to the original Starbucks.  We had breakfast there and also stopped by in the afternoon for a latte.  I am afraid I am something of a Starbucks "snob" -- I bought some coffee to bring with me to Kamchatka.

from Vera's cell phone--JB breakfast
Vera choosing a pastry at Starbucks
Baristas at Sheremetyevo Starbucks
I struggled a bit with ATMs, perhaps mostly because my usual ATM card, from a credit union, does not have a chip.  So I ended up using a Visa card that had a chip.  As for the rest of the time that I wasn't sleeping (I took 5 mg of melatonin and slept nearly 10 hours!), we had cheese and other goodies and red wine before sleeping, and champagne and more treats for "lunch" before I headed back to the terminal for my departure for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy.

I've been here on Kamchatka a week as of today --we are a day ahead of the U.S, my flights took 24 hours, I had 24 hours in Moscow, and I lost time flying east... I left on Sunday 8 Jan and arrived Weds 11 Jan! This blog will say it's 17 Jan because my computer is on Seattle time, but it's 18 Jan here.

View along wall outside my flat.
The basics of Petropavlovsk have not changed, I am still getting settled and learning my way around what changes have occurred since I was here in 2010 winter (I was here briefly, also, in 2011 summer).  One big change is that with a cable under the Sea of Okhotsk, we now have broadband internet, and I have it in my flat, so that is where I am now.  I plan to use my own laptop here at home, and a computer in my institute office -- one way to learn more Russian is to try to use Word new version (I still use old on my laptop) in Russian!  That's how I learned CorelDraw back in 2001!

I arrived just before a snowstorm, with strong cross-winds at the airport leading to a very exciting landing.  I have great respect for Aeroflot pilots!  It was warm the first few days, now it is colder than -10 celsius (that's about 14 fahrenheit, not bad at all).  Tanya took me to buy snowshoes and we went snowshoeing in fresh snow with another colleague, tectonic geomorphologist Andrey Kozhurin.
Snowshoeing on Kamchatka by Tanya Pinegina

I got this image from the web; it IS Kamchatka
Sunday, Tanya took me to buy ski boots-- she already had skis and poles for me to use (for cross-country--I have at home but too tricky to bring with me), and we went cross-country skiing.  I didn't bring my camera, which is too bad because at the same time on the same trail, there was a ski-joring competition with dogs!  The huskies seemed to be having more trouble than less-furry breeds, probably because the temperature was just above freezing.    Doggies did not seem to be doing a great job, perhaps they are still in training.

Typical birch forest, near Lesnaya
 cross-country ski area
All righty, the sun is rising--it's 9:30 AM --time zone is a bit shifted, and of course we are pretty far north, ~53 degrees.

Tasks for this week include organizing my papers for working on paleotsunami and tsunami records from Kamchatskiy Bay region, and getting set up with teaching/advising students in technical English.

And some more winter sports and time outdoors.  Did I say I love snow?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Women in academic science: a changing landscape

  Are "young and midcareer women in math-intensive fields" . . .  "paid roughly the same (in 14 of 16 comparisons across the eight fields) as their male counterparts? As discussed below, the authors of the recent op-ed piece in the New York Times are disingenuous to suggest that the above graphs, based on NSF data and published in their journal article, indicate that rough parity has been reached for more junior women faculty, even if only in the left five categories (their "math-intensive" fields).

Based on the upcoming, extensive journal article,
Women in academic science: a changing landscape 
from which I extracted and plotted Figures 15-17 to make the figure above, the New York Times published an op-ed piece this past Sunday entitled:
"Academic Science isn't Sexist"
Now, we know that newspaper editors choose titles/headlines, so the title of the journal article itself better reflects the content of both that research article and of the op-ed piece.  However, right away, when the op-ed authors say they are relying on extensive data, rather than the anecdotes that commonly illustrate sexism, I am reminded of Michele Aldrich's article on the history of women in geology, where she points out that that history cannot help but be anecdotal, as the numbers are so small.  Granted, things are changing, as shown by the data presented in this article and elsewhere, especially NSF's extensive database.  However, that does not mean that "Academic science isn't sexist."  Less sexist, I would grant.

The authors lump the "math-intensive sciences" (geosciences, economics, engineering, math & computer science, physical sciences) contrasted with the non-math-intensive (life sciences, sociology, psychology) and compare how women are doing in academia in the two groups.  For starters, I know a lot of scientists who would bristle at life sciences (bio, above), if not psych and sociology, being less math intensive... anyway....   The authors note that women in their "math-intensive" fields, while underrepresented in numbers, are as successful as men once they make the first hurdle of a tenure-track job, and that women in the "non-intensive" fields are actually less successful by comparison.

One of the main points the authors want to make is that the most progress is now to be made at levels below the point of hiring at the tenure-track level.  [Their characterization of girls and boys is another whole realm of commentary.]  And indeed there is a LOT that can be done, of which one of the significant factors, they note, is MORE WOMEN TEACHING THOSE SCIENCES so that role models are available to women.  I don't disagree.  But the unfortunate title of the op-ed, and the fuzzy wording and conclusions by the authors, do academic women in science no favors.

Not surprisingly, there is a kerfuffle amongst academic scientists, particularly women (like me), and those who know and study them.  I read the op-ed and a couple of commentaries (and the comments on those commentaries), which sent me to the original article on which the op-ed is based.  I did not read all the text but I examined the figures, which are based primarily on data compiled by the National Science Foundation.  I have picked one subtopic to address the differences between op-ed text and actual data:  salaries of women scientists in academia.  Other commentaries bring up other issues.  Let me say that the authors do make some important points, I have no reason to vilify them.  But there are lies, damn lies, and statistics...

Are "young and midcareer women in math-intensive fields" . . .  "paid roughly the same (in 14 of 16 comparisons across the eight fields)" as their male counterparts?

The op-ed states, with the part I will address in bold:
"Our analysis reveals that the experiences of young and midcareer women in math-intensive fields are, for the most part, similar to those of their male counterparts: They are more likely to receive hiring offers, are paid roughly the same (in 14 of 16 comparisons across the eight fields), are generally tenured and promoted at the same rate (except in economics), remain in their fields at roughly the same rate, have their grants funded and articles accepted as often and are about as satisfied with their jobs"

Look at the figure (their figures).  [If you go to the original you will see that not all the data are significant (significant data they note with asterisks, etc.).]  I took the figures and put a line across the graphs at 100% (that is, parity) to look at how often women made more or less than 100% what men made.  Let's leave out the full professors, because they are not "young and midcareer."  At that level, the history of discrimination is apparent.

If women were paid "roughly the same" as men, shouldn't there be as many columns above the 100% line as below?  Yet out of 32 columns, only five are above the 100% line. More disturbing in terms of progress is that there appears to be more parity at the Associate Professor rank than the Assistant Professor rank -- that is, if you add up the white space below and color above the 100% line for all columns, there is more white below (and less color above) on the Assistant Professors' graph.

This difference might be because women spend longer in the Associate Professor rank, so their salaries rise, albeit at the expense of not getting the Full Professor boost till later in their careers, thus not as fast as men's.  Alternatively, it could be that women in all categories are earlier in their careers, on average, because of the only-quite-recent increase in hiring of women.  But more analysis would be needed to evaluate these differences.

No matter the reasons for the differences, I think the authors are disingenuous, at best, to use these data to say that junior and mid-career women are paid "roughly the same" as men in the same rank.

P.S.  It appears that the "14 of 16" comes from taking the 2010 data from not just what the authors define as "math intensive" fields.  If considering ONLY math-intensive fields (by their definition), the number would be out of 10 (if only 2010) or out of 20 (the latter if including 1995).  If considering only statistically significant differences (or not), the numbers for the "math-intensive" fields would be 9 of 10 for 2010 or 16 of 20 for 1995 plus 2010.  The eight fields would include all the sciences surveyed.  And of course all sciences use math, so the real difference is the fields where women are more under-represented.

Friday, September 26, 2014

WISE -- Women in science and engineering -- some reflections

It's been a long time since I've posted...  I set this blog up originally to write about my various travels, experiences and adventures in the field, observing the effects and geologic records of tsunamis, particularly my experiences in the Russian Far East.  More on that, eventually...  and it's not divorced from the topic I do want to discuss.

Lately, those of us who are professional women in field sciences have been reading and posting on challenges and harrassment issues --both our own experiences and those of our students.  More on that later, too.  But several recent web posts have made me appreciate having a field party on Kamchatka that was led by women.  See my blog on that topic.

But THIS post comes from reading an essay by a current senior at MIT about her experiences,

and posted to Facebook by our former University of Washington undergrad student Jen Glass, now a young professor in Georgia -- a rising star and one attuned to issues of gender and science.  Thanks, Jen!

The young MIT engineering student (Jennifer) wrote, on 18 September of 2014:
     "I am a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a materials engineer, an honors student, and a woman. I also have been told hundreds of times that I don't deserve to be where I am. MIT admissions decisions come out on 3/14 (for Pi) every year. By 8 a.m. on 3/15 everyone in my high school knew I had been accepted. Tons of people came up to congratulate that day and afterwards but seemed strangely insistent on reminding me that "it is a lot easier to get in when you are a girl because they get so many fewer female applicants."    The idea that there was some sort of quota for women would be repeated to me over and over in the coming months, and it only got worse when I went to MIT."

Jennifer discussed not only gender, but also treated the topic of persons of color.  Kudos to her for writing..

Damn  --so many themes I can relate to over my extended career, still alive and kicking.  I came of age scientifically/professionally in the 1970s, and in general I have seen some progress (though I have many stories about gender biases) --such as for about 20 years I was the only woman in a department, and today in our faculty meeting there were 7 women present (two more absent) (albeit out of a possible 43 ....).

But the issue of being admitted to an elite program, as Jennifer was, or being hired because you are from an underrepresented group, hit at least two major nerves.  The first is, I could tell you many stories over my 30+ years in an R1 (primary research) university, when women who were as, or more, qualified than men were not hired for various unsupportable reasons.  Enough to make me crazy, but I have persevered.

The second nerve it hit is the one I want to address, and it's very related to our MIT student's post:   My niece is a systems engineer.  Her profession is one I could not have imagined for myself, in my era, though some women in that era and even earlier did succeed in engineering, despite the odds  (thanks largely to girls-only high schools, I think).  So to me, my niece's success is a real testament to progress in WISE.  And here, thanks to FIRST high school robotics programs.

This past spring, my niece was laid off.  She had left a more secure position (where to this day they would hire her back in less than a heartbeat) to one more innovative and people-oriented.  This more risky position didn't hold up, not because of her failings, but because funding in her expertise at that company declined.

I was confident, in the long run, that she'd get another job--one that suited her--BECAUSE MY NIECE IS EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD AT WHAT SHE DOES.  And/but when having a conversation with a close friend, I heard them say, "She won't have any problem, she's a woman engineer, and engineering companies are looking to hire women" (could also say the same about people of color), it raised my hackles and contradicted my experiences over the past decades.  And I am sure the same goes for my niece.

In my experience, a woman has NEVER been hired because of her gender, but in fact, she has to meet, or in reality exceed, the qualifications of any of the many others who apply for a position.  I could describe several cases where a woman was actually the most qualified person in a search, and somehow,... somehow they did not get the offer because...   let's see, what can I actually put on paper?  Not much, but believe me, the reasons were commonly constructed without real foundations.   Crazy making, but I have persevered.

So Jennifer's essay hit home on several accounts, not the least  being reflections on my niece's career path.  I do remain an optimist, but please, do not tell me that women and people of color are more easily hired (and retained) because they are from underrepresented groups.  While it might happen, I don't believe that, at least in my own experience in the fields of science and technology, it happens more often than the reverse.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mary Buckland

Well, this is pretty different from other posts, but I want to get a photo of Mary Morland Buckland on the web, so when someone Googles her, they can get this image.

I had searched for a picture of Mary Buckland while preparing a presentation for the 125th Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America.  I was asked to make a presentation in the "Great Books" session, and I chose to present on William Buckland's Bridgewater Treatise (1826).  Except that I called it "William and Mary Morland Buckland's Bridgewater Treatise" because Mary Buckland (nee Morland) was an important partner in Buckland's works, including illustrating, editing, and general partnership in all things paleontological.  She was already a practicing paleontologist (though that label wasn't yet used) when she met William Buckland, marrying him about 5 years later.

Mary Morland Buckland wikipedia bio

In her short bio in Wikipedia, they have used a silhouette of the family, first published in their daughter Elizabeth's Life and Letters of William Buckland.  I think Mary Buckland made this silhouette, but I am not entirely sure.  It's pretty cute because it shows what a menagerie their house was, with oldest son Frank under the table.  Mary is holding fossils -- ammonites, it looks like.

She was well known for her illustrations, particularly of vertebrates.  Her work was used by Cuvier, Conybeare, Agassiz, and of course in Bucklands' work. You can find some of those illustrations, and a few blog entries on Mary Morland (Buckland) on the web.

Finally, a few days before GSA, I found a photo portrait of Mary Buckland.  She looks to be in her later years.  She bore 9 children, five of whom survived to adulthood.  She home-schooled them.  She partnered with William Buckland in his paleontological works and did large illustrations for his Oxford lectures.  So here is the only known picture of Mary Buckland:
Now I want to see if I Google Mary Buckland, if I get this picture.  It's from plate 5 in Burgess, G.H.O., 1967.  The Eccentric Ark.  The Curious World of Frank Buckland.  NY Horizon Pres (I scanned it from  the US edition, which I bought used).  Figure caption:  Mary Buckland, from an original photograph in the possession of Mrs. Phyllis Cursham.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ada Lovelace Day -- women in Soviet & Russian geology and beyond

statue of Soviets mapping geology
For Ada Lovelace Day (16 October 2012) – Women in the Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and their (more recent) contributions to volcanology, geomorphology and paleoseismology.  And the next generation around the world.

These are my own personal acquaintances.  For some phenomenal history of Soviet geology done by both women and men, see the website Geologist-to-Geologist by Svetlana Tikhomirova (photo to right is from this site):  2014 note:  the site has disappeared.

Elena Sassarova to the left

 I first visited Kamchatka in 1996 for a meeting on tsunamis.  The most forceful woman I remember there was Elena V. Sassorova, from the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow.  Elena spent some of her earlier career years on Sakhalin; she is a geophysicist.  What was most remarkable about Elena at this 1996 meeting was that she led a climb of Avachinsky volcano in blowing fog and rain, after having done it a couple days before to know the route.  Her energy level was astounding, and she was really sad that we didn’t make it to the top – she would have, but we couldn’t keep up with her.  The thing is, she was smaller and older than any of the rest of us.  Elena has a force field around her that is amazing.  I have been pleased to meet her at many meetings since 1996.

Tanya Pinegina on Kultuchnoe Lake, 1998
The other woman I remember from that 1996 meeting, Tatiana K. Pinegina, was in more of a stealth force field.  Tanya was 24 years old at the time, and had insinuated herself into the Institute of Volcanic Geology & Geochemistry by her sheer will and her native brilliance.  She had come to Kamchatka for field camp and has remained anchored there ever since.  That brilliance was illustrated in her 1996 workshop talk, which she gave rather nervously, but the science was phenomenal, especially for someone who was largely self-taught and independent.  Who is this young woman?, I asked myself.  I had a brief chat with her, but she didn’t participate in social functions and thus stayed in the background; she could read English but had no practice.  At the time she still had no official position at the institute, but was impressing scientists who recommended her for a visit to the U.S. sponsored by the U.S.G.S. in the summer of 1997, when she stayed at my house and we worked on paleoseismology of the Snohomish delta in Everett/Marysville, Washington State; she also worked with Brian Atwater, her U.S.G.S. host.  The formal language barrier was pretty high, but we bonded and have worked together ever since, primarily on Kamchatka.  Tanya also has an amazing force field and has now become a science leader in her institute.  We have worked together in the summers (and some winters!) of 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006-2008 in the Kuril Islands, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 (winter).

Beth, Tanya, Katya, 2004 Kamchatka
So—Russian women in geoscience--I was meeting many on Kamchatka, whereas in my field (tsunami studies and paleoseismology) in the U.S., and in my department, women were scarce.  For the first time in my life, I had teams that were not only significantly populated by women, but also led by women.  Was it the Soviet system that did not discriminate against women in science?  (though the lead roles and Soviet National Academy were male-dominated).  I’ll just cite a few more examples of Soviet/Russian women in science, of whom there are many one could write about.  Of course, in the Soviet era, one typically had little choice as to what one did and where one did it – the motto of Russian geologists, who are considered heroic figures, is “work or die” – field work was very rough and challenging, but the gulag was harder.  And despite the challenges, women were not excluded from the field.

Olga Alexandrovna Braitseva
Olga Alexandrovna Braitseva was one of the second-generation volcanologists on Kamchatka, getting her start in 1959, in particular mapping and dating key volcanic ash layers and thus elucidating the history of large (caldera-scale) volcanic eruptions on Kamchatka.  She was a mentor to Tanya Pinegina and also to third generation volcanologists Vera Viktorovna Ponomareva and Lilia Ivanovna Bazanova.  These women also helped promote Tanya’s career.  Olga Alexandrovna has since retired to Moscow, since I met her in the late 1990s in Petropavlovsk.  Lilia Ivanovna is still actively working out the history of Avachinsky volcano, the one closest to the city and hence most hazardous for people.  I have also come to know a bit Masha (Maria M.) Pevzner, part of the same group of volcanologists and tephrastratigraphers.

Vera Ponomareva (middle) with Ontario colleagues
 Vera Ponomareva has in particular become a close colleague and friend, as with Tanya Pinegina.  Vera came to Kamchatka in the 1970s and has worked there ever since, sometimes spending her winters in Moscow (and recently in Seattle!).  Vera has developed strong ties with several international groups; no doubt her original elementary education in an English-speaking Soviet school has helped her integrate her scientific work. She has published prolifically and internationally, and she spearheaded a website about Kamchatka volcanoes. The first time I met Vera was in 1999, when some of us were in a very isolated spot on the Kamchatka coast, waiting for Tanya to come back with Vera and her team, the whole lot of them about a week overdue.  We had no radio.  We just listened each day and night for a vez dihod (tracked vehicle) and wondered what we would do if another week went by. Finally one night around 1 AM we heard the vez dihod, and soon our team was reunited.  By around 2 AM we had a spread on the rustic table, with vodka of course, and I was wondering who this woman was who was speaking such proper English….

Nadia Razzhegaeva
I want to mention also Nadia Razzhegaeva (her name is spelled a million ways...), a pioneer in geomorphic and paleoenvironmental studies in the Russian Far East, based in Vladivostok.  I cannot remember the first time I met Nadia, but our work together on the Kuril Biocomplexity Project was a chance for me to get to know her well on shipboard and in the field, and her prolific work from that project, along with a number of other colleagues (mostly women) who did not go on the expedition, has outdistanced the rest of us.

Well, of course there have been many talented and wonderful men on our expeditions, sometimes as leaders, sometimes as colleagues, and many as workers.  Russia still more traditionally assigns physical field work such as digging and hauling to men.  And why not, my Russian colleagues would say, men have more upper body strength (in general).  Because women do commonly have the lead expedition and/or scientific roles, it is easier to assign other duties (digging, cooking) based on ability without apparent gender discrimination.  In fact, Russian men can be chivalrous, which originally I bristled as, but came to appreciate, especially as I got older.

I’ll end by mentioning some of the fourth generation of women who have worked on Kamchatka and elsewhere with our group (and others), though I am sure I will forget some names (write to me!).  Beth Mahrt (U.S.), Natalia Zaretskaia (Russia; her grandmother was a geologist!), Crystal Mann (Canada, U.S.), Maria Ortuno Candela (Spain), Ekaterina Kravchunovskaya (Russia), Viviana Alvarez (Ecuador), Veronika Dirksen (Russia), Flavia Gerardi (Italy), M.E. (Beth) Martin Arcos (U.S.), Bre MacInnes (U.S.), Megumi Sugimoto (Japan).  

Note added:  Tragically, we lost our Katya Kravchunovskaya to a mountaineering tragedy on 3 March 2013.  Her boundless energy is sorely missed, and hers was promising career cut short.

Website of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Website for Holocene volcanoes of Kamchatka, initiated and largely constructed by Vera Ponomareva:   http://www.kscnet.ru/ivs/volcanoes/holocene/main/main.htm

Saturday, April 30, 2011

More imagery--Minami Sanriku and beyond -- and tsunami erosion

The oblique air photo above (by "yaozy"), available on Google Earth, shows dramatic tsunami scour features in the Minami Sanriku harbor. It also gives a better sense of the area I walked around in April of 2010. Finally I can faintly see the baseball diamond near the (destroyed) river gate, and get a sense of the tsunami erosion around the large apartment building at the shoreline, a building designated for vertical evacuation. I still don't know how many people used this building for evacuation, and if so, did they successfully get onto the roof because the upper floor was flooded.

I have been readjusting to life back in Seattle, trying to finish up several manuscripts that got pushed aside by the events of 11 March. These manuscripts deal with neotectonics and tsunami history of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

The other day, we were trying to imagine "life before Google Earth." I remember life before photocopy machines, let alone word processing! I was rereading a classic, early article by Minoura on a Kamchatka tsunami deposit, and wondering if we could relocate his sites. So much of Minoura-san's materials will have been destroyed by the earthquake in Sendai. I realized his work was not only before Google Earth and GIS, but probably done without GPS.... Though we had handheld GPS in our post-tsunami survey in Nicaragua in 1992, it wasn't working very well. Funny, there were two sets of maps -- the Nicaraguans had maps prepared by the Soviet Union for the Sandinista regime, and we from the U.S. had maps prepared by the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency, which said "destroy after using." The "KGB" maps were more accurate than the "CIA" maps.... Of course, air photos are still the best for on-the-ground location, though post-tsunami, things change. And some countries are not so enthusiastic about providing/ making public their air photos. How things are changing now with so much on the web.

Meanwhile (back to the present), thanks to Paleoseismicity:

for posting some good links, such as:
The title of this panorama project should be "japan-tsunami-panoramas" though.

From Google Earth, I found a newly acquired image of the harbor of Minami Sanriku that shows clearly severe tsunami erosional features, which by their looks are mostly from the outflow -- Bre MacInnes will be interested to see these. Part of her dissertation was about tsunami erosion, particularly by the 2006 (or 2007) central Kurils tsunamis.

Here is a before image of the Minami Sanriku harbor from June 2010:

and the same view from 6 April 2011:

and my rough attempt (I did not orthorectify the images) to outline before and after shorelines, as well as the scour ponds made by the tsunami:

OK, back to my manuscripts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tohoku coast -- Focus on Survivors

It's hard sometimes to think about statistics when peoples' lives are involved, but I found the data below heartening. Despite the widespread devastation in these towns, preliminary data show that really, most people survived. Early statistics used the total population of these towns, but these data attempt to count only the part of the population that was in the inundated area.

The table is ordered from most to least casualities (= dead plus missing). I added the survivors columns, which therefore are ordered from least to most survivors, top to bottom. So the bad news comes first

Preliminary table of survivors within inundated region of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures*
Prefecture Township Population within the inundated area (a) Dead + Missing (b) % casualites (a)/(b)x100 Survivors % survivors
Iwate Otsuchi 7839 1616 20.6 6223 79.4
Iwate Rikuzen-Takada 13547 2459 18.2 11088 81.8
Miyagi Onagawa 8816 1504 17.1 7312 82.9
Miyagi Natori 12132 1873 15.4 10259 84.6
Iwate Kamaishi 9331 1306 14.0 8025 86.0
Miyagi Shiogama 173 23 13.3 150 86.7
Fukushima Minami-Souma 13919 1474 10.6 12445 89.4
Miyagi Yamamoto 9341 788 8.4 8553 91.6
Miyagi Minami-Sanriku 13306 1090 8.2 12216 91.8
Iwate Yamada 11721 911 7.8 10810 92.2
Miyagi Kesennuma 29648 2138 7.2 27510 92.8
Fukushima Namie 2749 186 6.8 2563 93.2
Miyagi Ishinomaki 102670 5520 5.4 97150 94.6
Miyagi Higashi-Matsushima 32993 1713 5.2 31280 94.8
Fukushima Souma 9227 408 4.4 8819 95.6
Iwate Miyako 24937 1083 4.3 23854 95.7
Iwate Tanohata 1075 38 3.5 1037 96.5
Iwate Ofunato 15500 494 3.2 15006 96.8
Fukushima Futaba 1061 32 3.0 1029 97.0
Fukushima Shinchi 4258 118 2.8 4140 97.2
Miyagi Iwanuma 7310 183 2.5 7127 97.5
Fukushima Okuma 1053 24 2.3 1029 97.7
Miyagi Watari 13186 284 2.2 12902 97.8
345792 25265 7.3 320527 92.7

Average survival rate within inundated area: 92.7%

Statistics Bureau & Director-General for Policy Planning of Ministry of Internal Affairs & Communications
released "Populations and Number of families within the Expected Inundation Areas" in Japanese.

Inundation areas are estimated by aerial and satellite photos; not the survey on site.
*The table prepared by Yamamoto, Masahiro (Jody B. added survivor columns).