March 14, 2011
It’s amazing how technology can bring us the news, the images, and the video from a devastating natural disaster. The magnitude 8.9 earthquake near the east coast of Honshu, Japan, is no different. I first learned about the earthquake through Twitter, through a flurry of posts from @geosociety, @EnnNews, @nytenvironment (no longer active), and @callanbentley, just to name a few. Stunning imagery came through on posts by @earthoutreach, such as links to pre/post Japan on the Google Lat Long blog. Even more impressive and interactive are the GeoEye satellite photos on the New York Times website (and a new set from NYT has been posted).
There were “reports” AND educational material posted online instantly. IRIS always pulls together an outstanding set of Recent Earthquake Teachable Moments, complete with PowerPoint and videos. And for those interested in showing students the power of social media in disseminating disaster information, ESRI has a created a map to show the public the worst-hit areas and to facilitate recovery planning.
The number of resources available immediately is overwhelming – and I haven’t even begun to touch on the outstanding materials available on the tsunami from NOAA. Talk about a teachable moment! There’s no reason an instructor should NOT incorporate current events into a geoscience/Earth science course.
(…and this earthquake has several geo-bloggers putting our discipline in perspective! Check out this excellent post by Geotripper on Why Geology is Important, Why Education is Important: The Sendai Earthquake in Perspective)