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Notes From the Field...

March 11, 2011 Tsunami

Pre-tsunami Sendai, Japan (B. Richmond)


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The map above shows the location of the M9 March 11, 2011 earthquake near the east coast of Honshu, Japan (the yellow flag, or eastern-most flag shown on map) and its proximity to Arahama Beach on the Sendai Coastal Plain (red flag, or the western-most flag shown on map), Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

The 3rd International Tsunami Field Symposium was held during April, 2010 in Japan and hosted by scientists at Tohoku University in Sendai. Japanese scientists led field trips in the regions of Sendai, Sanriku, and Okinawa (Ishigaki Island). Field trips combined visits to areas containing tsunami deposits, memorials from previous tsunamis, and excursions to view engineered tsunami mitigation structures. These pre-tsunami photographs from Japan were taken during the field trips and illustrate coastal features prior to the March 11, 2011 tsunami. As post-tsunami photographs become available we will update the collection.

Aerial satellite image of Arahama Beach in 2010.
Vertical aerial satellite image of Arahama Beach, Sendai, Japan showing coastal protection structures and township prior to March 11, 2011. Most homes landward of the seawall were destroyed by the recent tsunami. Courtesy of Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI). [Larger local version] (See below for more information; online full-resolution version of this photo: http://cyberjapandata.gsi.go.jp/h23taiheiyo-ok/photo/sendai/thumb/C02/CTO-2010-4-C02_0123.jpg)
Aerial satellite image of Arahama Beach in 2011.
Vertical aerial photograph of Arahama Beach, Sendai, Japan showing extensive damage to structures on the coastal plain. The detached breakwater and coastal seawall are still visible, and they appear to have not undergone significant damage although the tsunami overtopped both structures. Photograph taken on March 12, 2011 after the recent tsunami. Courtesy of Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI). [Larger local version] (See below for more information; online full-resolution version of this photo: http://cyberjapandata.gsi.go.jp/h23taiheiyo-ok/photo/sendai/thumb/C02/CTO-2010-4-C02_0123.jpg)
Arahama Beach sign.
Sendai Coastal Plain: Photo of sign at Arahama Beach warning of the tsunami hazard in the area. [Larger version]
Photo taken on Arahama Beach in 2010.
Sendai Coastal Plain: Arahama Beach, April 2010. Photo shows massive seawall for coastal protection. Most homes landward of the seawall were destroyed by the March 11, 2011 tsunami. [Larger version]
Photo taken on Arahama Beach in 2010.
Sendai Coastal Plain: Arahama Beach, April 2010. View of detached offshore breakwater for coastal protection. [Larger version]
Photo taken on Sendai coastal plain in 2010.
Sendai Coastal Plain: Rice Field Zone. Participants of the 3rd International Tsunami Field Symposium (April 2010) watch Daisuke Sugawara attempting to sample deposits from the AD 869 Jogan tsunami. [Larger version]
Photo taken on Arahama Beach in 2010.
Sendai Coastal Plain: Rice Field Zone. Gouge core showing sand layers thought to be tsunami deposits from the AD 869 Jogan tsunami. [Larger version]
Photo taken on Arahama Beach in 2010.
Sendai Coastal Plain: Rice Field Zone. Sediment peels showing flood plain deposits interbedded with tsunami deposits including those from the AD 869 Jogan tsunami. [Larger version]
Photo taken on Arahama Beach in 2010.
Rice fields on the Sendai coastal plain (photograph taken in April, 2010). This area was completely inundated by the recent tsunami. [Larger version]
Photo taken on Arahama Beach in 2010.
Namiwake Shrine erected after the AD 869 Jogan Tsunami (namiwake means “split of wave” or “limit of inundation”). Shrine is located about 5 km from present coast (April 2010). At this time we do not know if the shrine was impacted by the March 11, 2011 event. [Larger version]

More information on the 12 March 2011 aerial photography:

  • Blog: “The 2011 off the coast of Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami Information
    http://www.coastal.jp/tsunami2011/index.php?Satellite%2FAerial%20photographs
    • Before and after photos, side-by-side and orthorectified (“geometrically corrected”):
      http://saigai.gsi.go.jp/h23taiheiyo-ok/hikaku/arahama.pdf
      • Before: 10/31/2006: Click the “200 dpi” button on this page, for a higher-resolution photo
        http://archive.gsi.go.jp/airphoto/ViewPhotoServlet?workname=CTO20061X&courseno=C12&photono=16
      • http://archive.gsi.go.jp/airphoto/ViewPhotoServlet?workname=CTO20061X&courseno=C12&photono=16
      • After: 3/12/2011:
        http://cyberjapandata.gsi.go.jp/h23taiheiyo-ok/photo/sendai/thumb/C02/CTO-2010-4-C02_0123.jpg
      • Individual georeferenced JPEG quadrangles:
        http://saigai.gsi.go.jp/h23taiheiyo-zort/block/index_sendai.html
        The aerial photo of post-tsunami Sendai, shown above (on this page), is a composite of these two quadrangles:
        • Quad 533: http://saigai.jmc.or.jp/h23taiheiyo-ok/ortho/sendai/Ortho_JPEG/20110315-10QE533-A0.jpg and
        • Quad 631: http://saigai.jmc.or.jp/h23taiheiyo-ok/ortho/sendai/Ortho_JPEG/20110315-10QE631-A0.jpg

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Page Last Modified: 14 April 2011 (lzt)