The earthquake also generated infrasound waves detected by perturbations in the orbit of the GOCE satellite, which thus serendipitously became the first seismograph in orbit. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. About 90 seconds after an earthquake, an additional report on the possibility of a tsunami will also be included in observation reports, in order to warn people before the JMA magnitude can be calculated. Two days of seismic activity made available by the IRIS Consortium were compressed into two minutes of sound. When the roads clear, experts will be dispatched to conduct further investigations. While the Japan Trench was known for creating large quakes, it had not been expected to generate quakes above an 8.0 magnitude.  Three other prefectures—Fukushima, Ibaraki and Tochigi—recorded an upper 6 on the JMA scale. MORE.  Authorities in Wewak, East Sepik, Papua New Guinea evacuated 100 patients from the city's Boram Hospital before it was hit by the waves, causing an estimated US$4 million in damage. 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. The amplitude of the seismic wave is measured using the JMA magnitude scale, which is similar to Richter magnitude scale. A tsunami (pronounced “soo-nom-ee”) is a “giant sea wave caused by an earthquake or volcano.” As you know, Japan is an island. This is the fourth largest earthquake in the world and the largest in Japan since instrumental recordings began in 1900.  Among them were two English teachers from the United States affiliated with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program; a Canadian missionary in Shiogama; and citizens of China, North and South Korea, Taiwan, Pakistan and the Philippines. , Along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and South America, tsunami surges were reported, but in most places caused little or no damage.  The Bank of Japan offered ¥15 trillion (US$183 billion) to the banking system on 14 March in an effort to normalize market conditions. 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. JAPAN TSUNAMI: HOW IT HAPPENED On July 16th at 12:00am, July 15th at 11:00pm BKK/JKT ; National Geographic Channel; HOME; ABOUT; VIDEOS; PHOTOS; LOCATION; INTERACT. Cities and towns listed here reported at least US$100,000 in damage or at least one death.  A 4-metre-high (13 ft) tsunami hit Iwate Prefecture. The strong ground motion registered at the maximum of 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale in Kurihara, Miyagi Prefecture. A massive tsunami, generated by a powerful undersea earthquake, engulfing a residential area in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, northeastern Honshu, Japan, on March 11, 2011. The March 11 temblor was felt as far away as Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia; Kao-hsiung, Taiwan; and Beijing, China. NHK BS News reported 2011-04-03-02:55 JST, One estimate of 10–15 minutes came from German seismologist Rainer Kind of the, Another estimate of 15–30 minutes came from Vasily V. Titov, director of the. [fn 2] The largest individual recording in Japan was 2.7 g, in Miyagi Prefecture, 75 km from the epicentre; the highest reading in the Tokyo metropolitan area was 0.16 g., Portions of northeastern Japan shifted by as much as 2.4 metres (7 ft 10 in) closer to North America, making some sections of Japan's landmass wider than before. , Save the Children reports that as many as 100,000 children were uprooted from their homes, some of whom were separated from their families because the earthquake occurred during the school day. Its epicenter was 130 kilometers off Sendai, Honshu; it occurred at a relatively shallow depth of 32 kilometers.  According to a special committee on disaster prevention designated by the Japanese government, the tsunami protection policy had been intended to deal with only tsunamis that had been scientifically proved to occur repeatedly. It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. Because tsunami walls had been overtopped, the committee also suggested, besides building taller tsunami walls, also teaching citizens how to evacuate if a large-scale tsunami should strike.  In Antarctica, the seismic waves from the earthquake were reported to have caused the Whillans Ice Stream to slip by about 0.5 metres (1 ft 8 in). Rolling blackouts of approximately three hours were experienced throughout April and May while TEPCO scrambled to find a temporary power solution. Because the plate boundary and subduction zone in the area of the Honshu rupture is not very straight, it is unusual for the magnitude of its earthquake to exceed 8.5 Mw; the magnitude of this earthquake was a surprise to some seismologists. Brenda. JACL, which was founded in 1929, is the oldest and largest … , On 7 December 2012 a large aftershock of magnitude 7.3 Mw caused a minor tsunami, and again on 26 October 2013 a small tsunami was recorded after a 7.1 Mw aftershock.  Governments and the military were forced to bury many bodies in hastily dug mass graves with rudimentary or no rites, although relatives of the deceased were promised that they would be cremated later. Some houses along the coast in Jayapura, Indonesia were destroyed.  Several nuclear and conventional power plants went offline after the earthquake, reducing the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) total capacity by 21 GW. , A fire occurred in the turbine section of the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant following the earthquake. 22 March 2011 On Friday, March 11, Japan was rocked by an earthquake. , Of the 13,135 fatalities recovered by 11 April 2011, 12,143 or 92.5% died by drowning. Read More. Unfortunately, the earthquake also caused a tsunami.  This led to near-paralysis within the capital, with long lines at train stations and many people unable to come to work or get home. Sendai was the nearest major city to the earthquake, 130 km (81 mi) from the epicenter; the earthquake occurred 373 km (232 mi) northeast of Tokyo.  Two substations, one in Shizuoka Prefecture and one in Nagano Prefecture, were able to convert between frequencies and transfer electricity from Kansai to Kanto and Tōhoku, but their capacity was limited to 1 GW.  Russia evacuated 11,000 residents from coastal areas of the Kuril Islands. Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 - Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011 - Relief and rebuilding efforts: In the first hours after the earthquake, Japanese Prime Minister Kan Naoto moved to set up an emergency command centre in Tokyo, and a large number of rescue workers and some 100,000 members of the Japanese Self-Defense Force were rapidly mobilized to deal with the crisis.  Over 200,000 people were evacuated. Sumitomo Metal Industries could produce up to 500 MW, JFE Steel 400 MW, and Nippon Steel 500 MW of electric power Auto and auto parts makers in Kanto and Tōhoku agreed in May 2011 to operate their factories on Saturdays and Sundays and close on Thursdays and Fridays to help alleviate electricity shortages during the summer of 2011.  TEPCO, which normally provides approximately 40 GW of electricity, announced that it could only provide about 30 GW, because 40% of the electricity used in the greater Tokyo area was supplied by reactors in the Niigata and Fukushima prefectures. , Researchers have also analysed the economic effects of this earthquake and have developed models of the nationwide propagation via interfirm supply networks of the shock that originated in the Tōhoku region.. 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). (The early estimate of magnitude 8.9 was later revised upward.)  It was extinguished after ten days, injuring six people, and destroying storage tanks. , Japan's national public broadcaster, NHK, and Japan Satellite Television suspended their usual programming to provide ongoing coverage of the situation. The tremors were the result of a violent uplift of the sea floor 80 miles off the coast of Sendai, where the Pacific tectonic plate slides beneath the plate Japan sits on. Japan experienced over 1,000 aftershocks since the earthquake, with 80 registering over magnitude 6.0 Mw and several of which have been over magnitude 7.0 Mw.  236 children were orphaned in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima by the disaster; 1,580 children lost either one or both parents, 846 in Miyagi, 572 in Iwate, and 162 in Fukushima.  In February 2019, there were 42 operable reactors in Japan. , 754 cultural properties were damaged across nineteen prefectures, including five National Treasures (at Zuigan-ji, Ōsaki Hachiman-gū, Shiramizu Amidadō, and Seihaku-ji); 160 Important Cultural Properties (including at Sendai Tōshō-gū, the Kōdōkan, and Entsū-in, with its western decorative motifs); one hundred and forty-four Monuments of Japan (including Matsushima, Takata-matsubara, Yūbikan, and the Site of Tagajō); six Groups of Traditional Buildings; and four Important Tangible Folk Cultural Properties. The quake caused a giant wave out at sea, called a tsunami, which grew to 10 metres high. The source area of this earthquake has a relatively high coupling coefficient surrounded by areas of relatively low coupling coefficients in the west, north, and south. In the area near the trench, the coupling coefficient is high, which could act as the source of the large tsunami. However, the estimated intensities were smaller than the actual ones in some places, especially in Kanto, Koshinetsu, and Northern Tōhoku regions where the populace warning did not trigger.  A report by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, published in Science on 2 December 2011, concluded that the seabed in the area between the epicenter and the Japan Trench moved 50 metres (160 ft) east-southeast and rose about 7 metres (23 ft) as a result of the quake. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami has been assigned GLIDE identifier EQ-2011-000028-JPN by the Asian Disaster Reduction Center. On March 11, the very large size of the earthquake was recognized quickly (from the seismic data) and the Japanese Meteorological Agency fortunately took no chances and put out a tsunami warning three … No one thought a tsunami waves would tower as high as 30 feet. If harnessed, the seismic energy from this earthquake would power a city the size of Los Angeles for an entire year.  The peak electricity consumption within TEP's area was 12.46GW during the 2011 summer, 3.11GW (20%) less than the peak consumption in the previous year, and the overall consumption have been reduced by 11% in July with 17% in August compared to previous year. After the 2011 disaster the UNISDR, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, held its World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Tohoku in March 2015, which produced the Sendai Framework document to guide efforts by international development agencies to act before disasters instead of reacting to them after the fact. An upthrust of 6 to 8 metres (20 to 26 ft) along a 180 kilometres (110 mi) wide seabed at 60 kilometres (37 mi) offshore from the east coast of Tōhoku resulted in a major tsunami that brought destruction along the Pacific coastline of Japan's northern islands. (Nearly two years later, on December 7, 2012, a magnitude-7.3 tremor originated from the same plate boundary region.  Estimates of the cost of the damage range well into the tens of billions of US dollars; before-and-after satellite photographs of devastated regions show immense damage to many regions.  Surges of up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) hit Vancouver Island in Canada[failed verification] prompting some evacuations, and causing boats to be banned from the waters surrounding the island for 12 hours following the wave strike, leaving many island residents in the area without means of getting to work. of dead or missing tops 22,000; bodies buried in rare measure", "Gradual Restoration of Infrastructure Continues at Disaster Areas", "asahi.com（朝日新聞社）：計画停電で影響が出る主な鉄道（午前７時現在） – 社会", "A Look at the Japanese City Closest to the Quake", "In Japan, Many Undersea Cables Are Damaged: Broadband News and Analysis", "Japan's phone networks remain severely disrupted", "AT&T, Sprint & Verizon Offer Free Calls & Texts to Japan from U.S. [UPDATED]", "T-Mobile USA Waives Call Charges to Japan and Wi-Fi Calling and Text Messaging Charges to and From Japan", "netTALK Extends Free Calling to Japan Through April", "Deutsche Telekom: Konzern erleichtert Kommunikation nach Japan", "Mitsubishi Heavy Industries bids goodbye to F2 aircraft", "Tsunami and earthquake in Japan: latest pictures of the damage", "Air SDF to scrap 12 fighters, citing tsunami damage", "Quake forces closure of Japanese space center", "asahi.com（朝日新聞社）：茨城の宇宙機構施設が損傷 「きぼう」一部管制できず – サイエンス", "Damages to Cultural Properties in "the Great East Japan Earthquake, "An Interim Report on the Situation of Cultural Heritage in Japan after the Tōhoku district -off the Pacific Ocean Earthquake (or Tōhoku Earthquake)", "Piece of Ship from Japan's 2011 Tsunami Surfaces in Oregon", "Japan requests foreign rescue teams, UN says", "Ustream Asia、民放TV各局の東北地方太平洋沖地震報道番組を同時配jmjffr -INTERNET Watch", Listen to Live Coverage from Japan In English from YokosoNews, "Local broadcasters remain calm during the quake crisis,", "Foreign media take flak for fanning fears,", "In Japan, disaster coverage is measured, not breathless,", "First interpreting at government press conference on disaster,", "Japan Relief Headquarters for Persons with Disabilities Petition for Support and Accommodation Following Earthquake,", "New Komeito post-quake initiatives being adopted,", "Japan's PM set to visit crippled nuclear plant,", "New Komeito post-quake initiatives being adopted | Komei News (March 20, 2011)", What 2011 means for Japan in 2012 and beyond, "Sonification of Tohoku Earthquake / Sendai Coast, Japan, 2011/03/11", "Somber Japan emperor makes unprecedented address to nation", "Japan's Emperor Akihito expresses 'deep concern' over Fukushima nuclear plant crisis", "Japan: The 'Big One' hit, but not where they thought it would", "Japan Quake Epicenter Was in Unexpected Location", "Japan earthquake shifted Earth on its axis", "Prompt gravity signal induced by the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake", "How do supply chain networks affect the resilience of firms to natural disasters? Brenda. In the fall of 2016 Japan's National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (NIED; Japanese abbreviation, Bosai Kaken; full name Bousai Kagaku Gijutsu Kenkyusho) launched the online interactive "Disaster Chronology Map for Japan, 416–2013" (map labels in Japanese) to display in visual form the location, disaster time, and date across the islands. Scientific information about the Tōhoku earthquake, Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami, Japan in Crisis: A Series of Interviews with Scholars by Peter Shea at the University of Minnesota, Special: The Tōhoku-Oki Earthquake, Japan, Japan Gigantic Earthquake and Tsunami 2011, The East Japan Earthquake Archive (Testimonies of survivors, Photographs and Videos on Google Earth), Gross, Richard. , Also, following the earthquake, for the first time in Japanese history, the Emperor addressed the nation in a pre-recorded television broadcast.. Hence, earthquakes in this area with magnitudes of about 7 since 1926 had only released part of the accumulated energy. The reservoir at one concrete gravity dam suffered a small non-serious slope failure. The committee advised that future policy should be to protect against the highest possible tsunami. in Japanese studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Tragically, on March 11, they did. Video footage of the towns that were worst affected shows little more than piles of rubble, with almost no parts of any structures left standing.  Internet services were largely unaffected in areas where basic infrastructure remained, despite the earthquake having damaged portions of several undersea cable systems landing in the affected regions; these systems were able to reroute around affected segments onto redundant links.  Wakabayashi Ward in Sendai was also particularly hard hit. 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