Alum measures risk

Map of Tsunami in Japan

Map graphic, cutline

Japan: Alum measures radiation risk

A graduate of the Master of Science in GIS program at the University of Redlands has been working around the clock in Japan since Tuesday to track the radioactive contamination being released by the Daiichi nuclear plant damaged in last week's magnitude-9 earthquake.

Alex Quintero, MS GIS '08, deployed from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada earlier this week along with 32 other U.S.-based experts to help authorities assess, survey, monitor and sample affected areas, according to a Department of Energy (DOE) official. Quintero works for the DOE north of Las Vegas.

The reported thousands of square miles of background radiation that moved its way through the atmosphere to America from Japan was expected to arrive in the Los Angeles area Friday, but is not considered to be of harm to citizens. Quintero has been working with the National Nuclear Security Administration using the data from intelligence-collection aircraft at the site to produce maps of radiation exposure and contamination. This technical information is being used to help determine the extent of the catastrophe, and assist both the U.S. and Japanese governments with assessment and response scenarios.

Mark Kumler, professor of Geographic Information Sciences at Redlands, produced this Azimuthal Equidistant map of the Sendai, Japan, tsunami using imagery supplied by NOAA. The colors indicate the maximum height of the tsunami wave in the Pacific Ocean when it reached coastlines. Black indicates the highest wave at over 240 cm (8 feet), red represents 40 cm or about 1.5 feet, and the smallest waves are indicated in yellow at 20 centimeters (8 inches).

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