On March 11, 2011 a magnitude 9.0 “great” earthquake off the east coast of Japan generated a Pacific-wide tsunami that was catastrophic along the coast of northeastern Honshu, Japan. The first tsunami wave arrived at the Honshu coastline nearest to the epicenter within about 15 minutes of the earthquake with subsequent waves arriving in the hours that followed, in places 10m or more in height. Entire communities were flooded by the waves and substantial infrastructure was damaged. The tsunami also propagated across the Pacific Ocean and was measured both by oceanic buoys and by coastal tide stations. As noted by the International Tsunami Information Center (http://itic.ioc-unesco.org/):
Hawaii ordered statewide evacuations as waves of over 2m passed the islands;
the west coast of the United States experienced waves of over 4m (trough to peak) at Crescent City; and
waves of over 4m (trough to peak) were measured down the coast of Chile.
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This combination of three photos taken over a six-month period shows aftermath of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and its cleanup progress in Wakabayashi-ward in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, in northeastern Japan. The left photo, taken March 16, 2011, shows debris of houses and vehicles cover the area after the tsunami. The middle photo, taken June 2, 2011, shows some debris and cars were removed, while the right photo taken Sept. 3, 2011 shows student volunteers getting rid of smaller rubble in a cleared field. AP/Kyodo News
The U.S. Government created search and rescue (S&R) atlas products as part of standing FEMA and USAID/OFDA requests for deploying S&R teams. The atlas has before and after satellite images with 1 kilometer grids superimposed. These S&R atlases can be downloaded from the following public URL: http://egeoint.nrlssc.navy.mil/
and choose the "2011 Japan Earthquake" link from the swirling text to the right. Select from documents on right with "USAR" or "Urban Search Rescue" in the document title.
At right: plot of tsunami water level data collected by Japanese teams as of 11 April 2011.
Infomation was gathered from this web site: http://www.coastal.jp/ttjt/index.php. Yamamoto Masahiro, UNESCO, translated the caption. Inundation depths (aka tsunami flow depth) are shown as red circles and run-up heights (height that the tsunami reached at maximum inundation) are shown as blue triangles.
Blog-style web site established by Japanese researchers, to disseminate survey information:
"The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami Information" [sic] http://www.coastal.jp/tsunami2011/
PBS NewsHour: Japan Tsunami Disaster a Wake-Up Call to U.S. West Coast (8 minute 32 second video)
Spencer Michels reports on new attention to disaster preparations in the U.S.; features USGS tsunami scientist Bruce Jaffe
Visit the web page, if the embedded video below does not work: http://video.pbs.org/video/1864918890/