2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami was a 9.0-magnitude earthquake followed by tsunami waves. It was measured at 8.4 on the JMA seismic intensity scale The earthquake happened 130 kilometres (81 mi) off Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, on the east coast of the Tōhoku of Japan, on March 11, 2011 at 05:46:23 UTC. It was at a depth of 24.4 km (15.2 miles). It was the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan in recorded history. It was also the fourth most powerful earthquake on Earth since modern record-keeping began in 1900.
Smoke from the Sendai Nippon Oil refinery
|UTC time||2011-03-11 05:46:24|
|Local date||March 11, 2011|
|Local time||14:46 JST|
|Depth||29 km (18 mi)|
|Areas affected||Japan (shaking, tsunami)|
Pacific Rim (tsunami)
|Total damage||$360 billion USD|
|Max. intensity||IX (Violent)|
|Peak acceleration||2.99 g|
|Peak velocity||117.41 cm/s|
|Tsunami||Up to 40.5 m (133 ft)|
in Miyako, Iwate, Tōhoku
|Foreshocks||List of foreshocks and aftershocks of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake|
|Aftershocks||13,386 (as of 6 March 2018)|
|Casualties||15,897 deaths, +2 (Overseas),|
2,533 people missing
Days before the main earthquake, there were several foreshocks. The biggest one was a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on 9 March, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) from the main earthquake's location.
The United States Geological Survey said the centre of the earthquake was 373 kilometres (232 mi) from Tokyo. A 7.7 aftershock happened 30 minutes following the first quake. There have been more than 600 aftershocks bigger than magnitude 4.5 or more.
The earthquake damaged buildings and started fires. The Shinkansen high speed bullet trains were stopped and Haneda Airport was closed after the quake. Various train services around Japan were also stopped. Hundreds of flights to Japan were cancelled due to the earthquake and tsunami, affecting many people. A large fire broke out at an oil refinery in Ichihara, Chiba prefecture.
The nuclear power plants shut down automatically. At first the Japanese Prime Minister said that no radioactive material leaked. About 51,000 people were moved away from the nuclear reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima city when its cooling system failed. There are fears that the nuclear reactor might meltdown.
The earthquake started a tsunami warning for Japan's Pacific coast and other countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Russia, Guam, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Hawaii, Northern Mariana Islands (USA) and Taiwan. The tsunami warning issued by Japan was the most serious on its warning scale. It warned that the wave could be as much as 10 meters high. A 0.5 meter high wave hit Japan's northern coast. Kyodo news agency reported a four-metre-high tsunami hit the Iwate Prefecture in Japan. Miyagi Prefecture was flooded, with waves carrying buildings and cars along as they travelled inland. In some areas the waves reached 10 km inland.
At 9:28 p.m (HST) the National Weather Service issued a tsunami warning until 7 a.m. for all of Hawaii. Tsunami waves were expected to arrive in Hawaii at 2:59 am local time. A wave two meters high reached California, after travelling across the Pacific Ocean at a speed of 500 kilometres per hour. A man in California was drowned after being swept into the ocean while trying to take a photograph of the tsunami wave.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster began on March 11 2011, just hours after the initial wave. The connection to the electrical grid was broken. All power for cooling was lost and reactors started to overheat. There was a partial core meltdown in reactors 1, 2, and 3; hydrogen explosions destroyed the upper part of the buildings housing reactors 1, 3, and 4; an explosion damaged the containment inside reactor 2; fires broke out at reactor 4. Despite being initially shutdown, reactors 5 and 6 began to overheat. Spent nuclear fuel rods stored in pools in each reactor building overheated as water levels in the pools dropped. The accident is the second biggest nuclear accident after the Chernobyl disaster, but more complex as all reactors are involved.
There were 4.4 million households that had their electricity supply cut off, including 11 nuclear power plants.
The quake moved parts of northeast Japan as much as 2.4 meters (7.9 ft) closer to North America, making parts of Japan's land "wider than before," according to geophysicist Ross Stein. Areas of Japan closest to the epi-center shifted the most.
The Pacific plate itself may have moved westwards by up to 20 m (66 ft). Other estimates put the amount of slippage at as much as 40 m (130 ft), covering an area some 300 to 400 km (190 to 250 mi) long by 100 km (62 mi) wide. If confirmed, this would be one of the largest recorded fault movements to have been associated with an earthquake.
According to Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the earthquake shifted the Earth's axis by 25 centimeters (9.8 in). This deviation led to a number of small planetary changes, including the length of a day and the tilt of the Earth. The speed of the Earth's rotation increased, shortening the day by 1.8 microseconds due to the redistribution of Earth's mass.
The axial shift was caused by the redistribution of mass on the Earth's surface, which changed the planet's moment of inertia. Due to the conservation of angular momentum, such changes of inertia result in small changes to the Earth's rate of rotation. These are expected changes for an earthquake of this magnitude.
The Tōhoku Expressway, which serves northern Japan, had to be closed due to cracks on the roads. The whole railway network was closed, but was reopened hours after the earthquake. Up to 100,000 people were stuck waiting for a ride straight out of the city.
There were other people from other countries helping people after this disaster. For example, Google set up a people finder service, which allowed users to ask for or post information about missing people.
- Japan Meteorological Agency (ed.). "「平成23年（2011年）東北地方太平洋沖地震」について～７年間の地震活動～" ["About 2011 Tōhoku earthquake - Seismic activities for 7 years -"] (PDF). Retrieved 2018-06-18. on 6 March 2018.
- "Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures... 8 March 2019" National Police Agency of Japan. Retrieved 13 March 2019. (from "deaths" template)
- "Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures... 8 June 2018" National Police Agency of Japan. Retrieved 18 June 2018. (from "injured" template)
- "Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures... 8 March 2019" National Police Agency of Japan. Retrieved 13 March 2019. (from "missing" template)
- "Japan Tsunami Strikes Indonesia, One Confirmed Dead". Jakarta Globe. 12 March 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- "Body found in Oregon identified as missing tsunami victim". BNO News. Archived from the original on 14 April 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
Tsunami victim remains wash ashore near Fort Stevens. Koinlocal6.com (12 March 2011). Retrieved on 2 May 2011.
"Body of Calif. man killed by tsunami washes up". CBS News. Associated Press. 12 April 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
- "Magnitude 8.9 - NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN 2011 March 11 05:46:23 UTC". 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 11 March 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Tsunami Warnings/Advisories". Japan Meteorological Agency. Japan Meteorological Agency. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "東北を中心に震度7の地震 宮城県で4・2メートルの津波 建物も流される". MSN産経ニュース. 2011-03-11. Archived from the original on 2014-07-29. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Tsunami hits north-eastern Japan after massive quake". 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Historic World Earthquakes". earthquake.usgs.gov. 2011 [last update]. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures associated with 2011 Tohoku district – off the Pacific Ocean – Earthquake: February 10, 2015" (PDF). National Police Agency. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
- "Earthquake Information". Japan Meteorological Agency. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- "Japan issues top tsunami warning after major quake". MediaCorp Channel NewsAsia. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- Mary Forgione (11 March 2011). "Travel disrupted by disaster in Japan". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- "BBC News - Tsunami hits north-eastern Japan after massive quake". bbc.co.uk. 2011 [last update]. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Radiation Levels Surge Outside Two Nuclear Plants in Japan - FoxNews.com". foxnews.com. 2011 [last update]. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- "BBC News - Japan quake: Huge explosion at Fukushima nuclear plant". bbc.co.uk. 2011 [last update]. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- "Japan hit by massive earthquake". BBC News. 2011-03-11. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
- "Quake causes many injuries in Japan, tsunami". Reuters. 2011-03-11. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 2017-08-30.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2011-03-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- "BBC News - Japan earthquake: Tsunami hits north-east". bbc.co.uk. 2011 [last update]. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-03-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- "Tsunami Center Widens Warning to Include Hawaii". ABC News. 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- "US man killed by tsunami waves - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". abc.net.au. 2011 [last update]. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
- "Japan's unfolding disaster 'bigger than Chernobyl'". New Zealand Herald. 2 April 2011.
- "Explainer: What Went Wrong in Japan's Nuclear Reactors". IEEE Spectrum. 4 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-05-03.
- "Analysis: A month on, Japan nuclear crisis still scarring," International Business Times (Australia). 9 April 2011, retrieved 12 April 2011; excerpt, According to James Acton, Associate of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "Fukushima is not the worst nuclear accident ever but it is the most complicated and the most dramatic ... This was a crisis that played out in real time on TV. Chernobyl did not." Archived 18 April 2011 at WebCite
- "People near Japan nuke plant told to leave – Yahoo!7".
- "Quake shifted Japan by over two meters". Deutsche Welle. 2011-03-14. Archived from the original on 2011-03-14. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
- Chang, Kenneth (2011-03-13). "Quake Moves Japan Closer to U.S. and Alters Earth's Spin". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
- Rincon, Paul (2011-03-14). "How the quake has moved Japan". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
- Reilly, Michael (2011-03-12). "Japan quake fault may have moved 40 metres". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
- Chai, Carmen (2011-03-11). "Japan's quake shifts earth's axis by 25 centimetres". Montreal Gazette. Postmedia News. Archived from the original on 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- "Earth's day length shortened by Japan earthquake". CBS News. 2011-03-13. Archived from the original on 2011-03-13. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- Harris, Bethan (2011-03-14). "Can an earthquake shift the Earth's axis?". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2011-03-15. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
- "Fears of massive death toll as ten-metre tall tsunami races across Pacific after sixth largest earthquake in history hits Japan". Daily Mail. 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Many Rail Services In Tokyo Suspended After Quake". NIKKEI. 12 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- Chancellor, Alexander. "The Japanese emperor's lesson for the British monarchy," The Guardian (UK). 17 March 201. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- Mark Lee (11 March 2011). "Google Sets Up People-Finding Internet Service After Earthquake Hits Japan". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 2011-03-12. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- Google Japan (11 March 2011). "東北地方太平洋沖地震を受けて". Google Japan. Retrieved 12 March 2011. (in Japanese)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2011 Tōhoku earthquake.|