Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Hundreds of aftershocks, dozens of magnitude 6.0 or greater and two of magnitude 7.0 or greater, followed in the days and weeks after the main quake. Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Flooding along the Kitakami River, Japan. This is an alphabetically sorted list of cities and towns severely damaged by the 2011 … The earthquake was caused by the rupture of a stretch of the subduction zone associated with the Japan Trench, which separates the Eurasian Plate from the subducting Pacific Plate. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Bradley/U.S. "Tsuami Spirits" looks at the supernatural occurrences that happened in the days, weeks, and months following the tsunami. It was centered about 80 miles offshore, and tsunami warnings went up immediately. Five million tons of material and debris from Japan were swept out to the Pacific Ocean by the tsunami. On March 11, 2011 at 2:45 local time, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred 81 miles (130 km) off the east coast of Sendai, Japan, triggering a massive tsunami. 4. Map of the northern part of Japan's main island of Honshu depicting the intensity of shaking caused by the earthquake of March 11, 2011. The epicentre was located some 80 miles (130 km) east of the city of Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, and the focus occurred at a depth of 18.6 miles (about 30 km) below the floor of the western Pacific Ocean. Image of the Day Land Earthquakes Learn more about environmental hazards with this curated resource collection. Catastrophic weather events include hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and droughts, among others. Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, Ōfunato, Iwate prefecture, Japan Members of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force in rescue and recovery operations in Ōfunato, Iwate prefecture, Japan, after the city was devastated by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. industrial facility for the generation of electric energy. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these false-color images before and after the tsunami. The giant waves deluged cities and rural areas alike, sweeping away cars, homes, buildings, a train, and boats, leaving a … A violent, magnitude 9-point-zero earthquake on March 11, 2011. Map prepared by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration depicting the tsunami wave height model for the Pacific Ocean following the March 11, 2011, earthquake off Sendai, Japan. Large stretches of land were left submerged under seawater, particularly in lower-lying areas. At this time, the risk of contamination from radioactive materials and the risk of exposure to radiation are thought to be low, especially for anyone staying at least 50 miles from the nuclear power plant. The tsunami, spawned by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan, killed hundreds as it slammed the eastern coast of Japan… When those plates scrape against each other and cause an earthquake, the results can be deadly and devastating. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. wreckage from Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 Fishing boat lying amid the wreckage in Ōfunato, Iwate prefecture, Japan, after being washed ashore by the tsunami that struck the city on March 11, 2011. The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku (Japanese: 東北地方太平洋沖地震, Hepburn: Tōhoku-chihō Taiheiyō Oki Jishin) was a magnitude 9.0–9.1 (Mw) undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST (05:46 UTC) on Friday 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately 70 kilometers (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tōhoku and the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 29 km (18 mi). It was later reported that a satellite orbiting at the outer edge of Earth’s atmosphere that day had detected infrasonics (very low-frequency sound waves) from the quake. large settlement with a high population density. The earthquake struck below the North Pacific Ocean, 130 kilometers (81 miles) east of Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku region, a northern part of the island of Honshu. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. March 11 – A 9.0-magnitude earthquake hits offshore of Japan's Miyagi prefecture, resulting in tsunami waves as high as 10 metres, causing an accident at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant March 12 – Kyushu Shinkansen opens between Yatsushiro and Hakata of Fukuoka, with the start of direct high-speed train between Osaka to Kagoshima. The surface of the Earth is made up of tectonic plates that lie beneath both the land and oceans of our planet. The combined effects of the earthquake and tsunami (known as the Tohoku event) devastated the area o … Click below to see a MapMaker Interactive map displaying tectonic activity surrounding the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. When a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the northeast coast of Japan and triggered a tsunami in March 2011, one of the hardest hit areas was the city of Rikuzentakata. In the wake of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in March 2011, ocean waters flooded croplands and settlements lining the Kitakami River. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant cooling system was damaged, raising fears of a meltdown. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, together comprising about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake rupturing the Earth's crust nearly 130 km off the east coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, triggered a tsunami that reached the Japanese coast approximately 30 minutes later. Several hours later 9-foot (2.7-metre) tsunami waves struck the coasts of California and Oregon in North America. The waves completely obliterated such coastal towns as Kuji and Ōfunato and severely damaged much of the infrastructure in eastern Sendai. Flooding from Tsunami near Sendai, Japan. Navy photo Here’s a look at the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March of 2011. What if you could do something to help people who live in areas that are prone to earthquakes? On March 11, 2011, at 2:46 p.m. (Japanese Standard Time; March 10, 9:46 p.m., Pacific Standard Time), a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the eastern coast of the Tohuku region, northern Honshu Island in Japan. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource. This is just what National Geographic Young Explorer Navakanesh M Batmanathan is trying to do. Here’s a look at the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March of 2011.. March 11, 2011 - At 2:46 p.m., a 9.1 magnitude earthquake takes place 231 miles northeast of … In coastal cities, people knew what to do next: run to higher ground. On March 11, 2011, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake occurred 231 miles northeast of Tokyo. A wave measuring some 33 feet high inundated the coast and flooded parts of the city of Sendai, including its airport and the surrounding countryside. Cities and towns listed here reported at least US$ 100,000 in damage or at least one death. Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011, also called Great Sendai Earthquake or Great Tōhoku Earthquake, severe natural disaster that occurred in northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. At the end of a narrow inlet, the city of roughly 8,000 households lost 75 percent of its homes. John Rafferty, associate editor of Earth sciences at Encyclopædia Britannica, discussing tsunamis. The clash of these plates can also cause violent earthquakes, where Earth’s surface shakes. This is an alphabetically sorted list of cities and towns severely damaged by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. A part of the subduction zone measuring approximately 190 miles (300 km) long by 95 miles (150 km) wide lurched as much as 164 feet (50 metres) to the east-southeast and thrust upward about 33 feet (10 metres). More than 450,000 people became homeless as a result of the tsunami. The Tohoku earthquake caused a tsunami. On March 11, 2011, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake occurred 231 miles northeast of Tokyo. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. activity that includes a discharge of gas, ash, or lava from a volcano. Image of the Day Land Water Floods Earthquakes The event began with a powerful earthquake off the northeastern coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island, which caused widespread damage on land and initiated a series of large tsunami waves that devastated many coastal areas of the country, most notably in the Tōhoku region (northeastern Honshu). structures and facilities necessary for the functioning of a society, such as roads. The tsunami also instigated a major nuclear accident at a power station along the coast. When the monstrous tsunami of March 2011 struck the northeast coast of Japan, the retreating waves pulled many pieces of civilization and many lives out to sea. The second season of Unsolved Mysteries details the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. The environmental hazards you face depend on where you live. March 11, 2011 - At 2:46 p.m., a 9.1 magnitude earthquake takes place … Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The Japanese government estimated that 5 million tons of debris was swept up by the event, with about 70 percent sinking to the seafloor and 1.5 million tons left floating. conditions that surround and influence an organism or community. The earthquake is often referred to in Japan as the Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災, Higashi nihon daishinsai) and is also known as the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, the Great Sendai Earthquake, the Great Tōhoku Earthquake, and the great earthquake of … John P. Rafferty writes about Earth processes and the environment. The quake caused no injuries and little damage.) forced removal of something, often people or organisms, from their communities or original space. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake occurred, this time near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. Tsunami swirls near a port in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, after Japan was struck by a strong earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, March 11, 2011. Acquired March 15, 2011, and January 16, 2011, these false-color images show part of the Kitaami River before and after the 8,9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in early March 2011. According to some reports, one wave penetrated some 6 miles (10 km) inland after causing the Natori River, which separates Sendai from the city of Natori to the south, to overflow. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Aftershocks continued, many exceeding magnitude-7.0. Buildings are damaged by an earthquake-triggered tsunami in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, Friday, March 11, 2011. The magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck at 2:46 pm. You cannot download interactives. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. Japan earthquake and tsunami - 2011 Japan is an island nation located in East Asia. Updates? Because the risk for contamination with radioactive materials is thought to be low, there is no indication that taking potassium iodide (KI, iodine pills) will be… the sudden shaking of Earth's crust caused by the release of energy along fault lines or from volcanic activity. Like the 2004 underwater earthquake, this too unleashed a massive tsunami. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. All rights reserved. These environmental hazards shape human activity regionally. A magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck off Japan’s northeastern coast. Regions are the basic units of geography. The Japanese coastline near Sendai is flooded in this false-color image, taken March 12, 2011, nearly a day after a earthquake-generated tsunami inundated the coast. East of Japan, the Pacific plate dives beneath the overriding Eurasian plate. Sustainability Policy |  to leave or remove from a dangerous place. She or he will best know the preferred format. For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. geographic territory with a distinct name, flag, population, boundaries, and government. The 2011 Japan Tsunami Was Caused By Largest Fault Slip Ever Recorded Clay lubricated the fault zone in the Japan trench, producing the devastating tsunami, researchers say.   It was the fifth most powerful earthquake ever recorded, and within 30 minutes, a 133-foot high tsunami pummeled Japan's northeastern shoreline. Massive Quake, Tsunami Batter Japan March 11, 2011. (Nearly two years later, on December 7, 2012, a magnitude-7.3 tremor originated from the same plate boundary region. It generated waves 11 to 12 feet (3.3 to 3.6 metres) high along the coasts of Kauai and Hawaii in the Hawaiian Islands chain and 5-foot (1.5-metre) waves along the island of Shemya in the Aleutian Islands chain. The March 11, 2011, earthquake was the strongest to strike the region since the beginning of record keeping in the late 19th century, and it is considered one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded. movement of tectonic plates resulting in geologic activity such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. In a subduction zone, one plate slides beneath another into the mantle, the hotter layer beneath the crust. Learn more about earthquakes with this curated collection of classroom resources. Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 A massive tsunami, generated by a powerful undersea earthquake, engulfing a residential area in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Honshu, Japan, on … On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the strongest earthquakein its recorded history. The 2011 Tohoku earthquake struck offshore of Japan, along a subduction zone where two of Earth's tectonic plates collide. 3. In addition to Sendai, other communities hard-hit by the tsunami included Kamaishi and Miyako in Iwate; Ishinomaki, Kesennuma, and Shiogama in Miyagi; and Kitaibaraki and Hitachinaka in Ibaraki. On May 22, 1960, the largest earthquake in recorded history—magnitude 9.5—struck southern Chile. Tsunami in Japan Japan was hit by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake on March 11, 2011, that triggered a deadly 23-foot tsunami in the country's north. Code of Ethics. The wall of water that struck Japan in March was the result of at least two waves that combined to create a more powerful tsunami, U.S. scientists said Monday. The March 11 temblor was felt as far away as Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia; Kao-hsiung, Taiwan; and Beijing, China. Join our community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic's resources for you and your students. Many people who lived through the disaster have recorded ghost encounters from its victims. Explore these resources to teach your students about catastrophic weather events and how they impact every part of the world. The active San Andreas fault runs through California and causes regular earthquakes, while the warm waters transported by the Gulf Stream can intensify a storm heading for South Carolina. . having unstable atomic nuclei and emitting subatomic particles and radiation. It is estimated that the initial tsunami wave took 10 to 30 minutes to make its first landfall. More than 15,500 people died. You might not be able to tell them where or when an earthquake may occur, but you could possibly help minimize the impact of the deadly energy that is released in Earth’s crust. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. It is estimated that the initial tsunami wave took 10 to 30 minutes to make its first landfall. A massive tsunami, generated by a powerful undersea earthquake, engulfing a residential area in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Honshu, Japan, on March 11, 2011. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. 1145 17th Street NW part of a body of water deep enough for ships to dock. On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in its recorded history. The nuclear crisis that followed at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, and the subsequent detection of radioactive contamination Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia.Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. The March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused widespread devastation that affected many of the country’s agricultural and fishery areas. It was preceded by several foreshocks, including a magnitude-7.2 event centred approximately 25 miles (40 km) away from the epicentre of the main quake. The movements of these plates can build mountains or cause volcanoes to erupt. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/event/Japan-earthquake-and-tsunami-of-2011, LiveScience - Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011: Facts and Information, National Geographic - Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, NOAA National Center for Environmental Information - Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. Earth Science, Oceanography, Geography, Physical Geography. Building codes in California require builders to meet standards set to minimize structural damage in an earthquake and coastal cities have building code to reinforce roofs and walls to resist a storm’s high winds. This is because the physical conditions in each place are different. Terms of Service |  The largest fault slip ever recorded caused the tsunami that hit Japan. Damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant after the earthquake and tsunami resulted in a leak of radioactive material from this facility.   It was the fifth most powerful earthquake ever recorded, and within 30 minutes, a 133-foot high tsunami pummeled Japan's northeastern shoreline. The earthquake struck below the North Pacific Ocean, 130 kilometers (81 miles) east of Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku region, a northern part of the islandof Honshu. As these massively destructive and costly events become more frequent, scientific evidence points to climate change as a leading cause. (Some geologists argue that this portion of the Eurasian Plate is actually a fragment of the North American Plate called the Okhotsk microplate.) The great plates are rough and stick together, building up energy that is released as earthquakes. Omissions? Tiny boat swept away in 2011 disaster may have reached the waters off the US west coast Last modified on Tue 15 Dec 2020 00.18 EST A fishing boat has reappeared on the shores of Japan … The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. The sudden horizontal and vertical thrusting of the Pacific Plate, which has been slowly advancing under the Eurasian Plate near Japan, displaced the water above and spawned a series of highly destructive tsunami waves. 2. On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in its recorded history. Tsunami waves smashed the coast, causing massive damage and flooding. Damaging tsunami waves struck the coasts of Iwate prefecture, just north of Miyagi prefecture, and Fukushima, Ibaraki, and Chiba, the prefectures extending along the Pacific coast south of Miyagi. Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, Ōfunato, Iwate prefecture, Japan Members of the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force in rescue and recovery operations in Ōfunato, Iwate prefecture, Japan, after the city was devastated by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. As the floodwaters retreated back to the sea, they carried with them enormous quantities of debris, as well as thousands of victims caught in the deluge. TEPCO officials reported that tsunami waves generated by the main shock of the Japan earthquake on March 11, 2011, damaged the backup generators at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. ocean waves triggered by an earthquake, volcano, or other movement of the ocean floor. A vehicle washed away by tsunami, sits over a guard rail in Rikuzentakata, Iwate, northern Japan Saturday, March 12, 2011 after Japan's biggest recorded earthquake slammed into … 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami, and Radiation Release in Japan: Health Information for Humanitarian Aid Workers The US Department of State and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommend that Americans in Japan remain at least 50 miles (80 km) away … He serves currently as the editor of Earth and life sciences, covering climatology, geology, zoology, and other topics that relate to... Aerial view of damage to a portion of the northeastern coast of Honshu, Japan, following the offshore earthquake and resultant tsunami there on March 11, 2011. Finally, some 18 hours after the quake, waves roughly 1 foot (0.3 metre) high reached the coast of Antarctica and caused a portion of the Sulzberger Ice Shelf to break off its outer edge. 1. The earthquake was so strong that it shifted Earth on its axis. All across northern Japan they felt it. While they can often be predicted, the loss of life and property take an emotional and economic toll on the community impacted. On March 11, 2011 at 2:45 local time, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred 81 miles (130 km) off the east coast of Sendai, Japan, triggering a massive tsunami. Privacy Notice |  (The early estimate of magnitude 8.9 was later revised upward.) The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific basin. National Geographic Headquarters The tsunami raced outward from the epicentre at speeds that approached about 500 miles (800 km) per hour. On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the strongest. © 1996 - 2021 National Geographic Society. Earthquakes are more common in some parts of the world than others, because some places, like California, sit on top of the meeting point, or fault, of two plates. For example, if you live in northern California you are more likely to be impacted by a wildfire, landslide, or earthquake than if you live in Charleston, South Carolina, but less likely to be hit by a hurricane. That hit Japan droughts, among others centered about 80 miles offshore, and information Encyclopaedia! At least one death land and oceans of our planet caused by the tsunami the great plates are rough stick! Left submerged under seawater, particularly in lower-lying areas access to exclusive content to climate change as a cause! And Beijing, China 8,000 households lost 75 percent of its homes plate beneath! National Geographic 's resources for you and your students about catastrophic weather events how! From volcanic activity that happened in the days, weeks, and droughts among... S a look at the earthquake triggered tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific basin plates resulting in geologic activity as... 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