why was the 2011 japan tsunami so devastating

They conducted disaster drills, but they also integrated tsunami awareness into almost all aspects of their school day. The most powerful earthquake recorded in Japanese history, magnitude 8.9. Important conversations are happening now. In a subduction zone, one plate slides beneath another into the mantle, the hotter layer beneath the crust. 3. (Tsunami models did an excellent job of predicting when the tsunami would hit Hawaii or California, hours after the earthquake.) (01/04/2011) Erosion caused by hurricanes and large-scale deforestation may have contributed to last year’s devastating earthquake that killed more … Make the most of your reading with comments, events and more. This was the sixth largest earthquake in the world since 1900, when seismological records began. The stories of what happened at many elementary and junior high schools sadly provide tragic insights into the lack of preparation. But the fact that 25,000 Japanese were killed by the tsunami shows that the lack of preparation went well beyond just the nuclear power plants. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. The tsunami moves across the Pacific at a speed of 500mph, with waves expected to reach the island of Fiji and Cairns in Australia at 3.28pm GMT. East of Japan, the Pacific plate dives beneath the overriding Eurasian plate. Around 30 times more energy is released as the magnitude of an earthquake increases one unit, for example from magnitude 8 to 9. Today is National Voter Registration Day! But since then there had only been false alarms, tsunami warnings broadcast but followed by no tsunamis of any significant size. This works fine for warning people living along coast far from the epicenter of the submarine earthquake. But most deaths occur on the coast closest to the epicenter. That Japan was not adequately prepared for the tsunami that hit the northeastern Honshu coast on March 11, 2011, first became apparent at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Unfortunately, the response of many Japanese to that warning was inadequate due to their lack of tsunami preparedness training. All rights reserved. It is a story that demonstrates the critical importance of disaster preparedness in saving lives, especially for tsunamis, which are unpredictable. GDP in the January-March quarter contracted by a staggering annualized rate of 3.7%, sending the economy into yet another recession. ], That Japan was not adequately prepared for the tsunami that hit the northeastern Honshu coast on March 11, 2011, first became apparent at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Equally unbelievable, the diesel engines inside the buildings had also been placed at ground level and in the basement below, and the tsunami submerged them. When the earthquake severed the connection between the nuclear power plant and the Japan electrical grid, the diesel backup system turned on as it was supposed to. 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 minutes later. Add your voice. Entire towns were destroyed in tsunami-hit areas in Japan, including 9,500 missing in Minamisanriku; one thousand bodies had been recovered in the town by 14 March 2011. So one has to ask the question, how could the tsunami have killed so many people in a country that was supposed to be the most tsunami-aware nation on Earth? Five years ago, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred 200km off the east coast of Japan, causing a devastating tsunami. The tsunami swept over sea walls and engulfed both schools, yet every one of the 212 junior high students and 350 elementary students who were in the buildings at the time managed to escape. Other estimates put the wave height at 10 metres. The event began with a powerful earthquake off the coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island, which initiated a series of large … Why Indonesia’s tsunamis are so deadly ... the magnitude-9.1 quake in December 2004 generated a devastating tsunami that killed almost a quarter of a ... Hawaii and Japan … Nine years ago this week the island nation of Japan suffered the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The most powerful earthquake recorded in Japanese history, magnitude 8.9. The most powerful waves appeared to be moving south-west from Japan. It is estimated that the initial tsunami wave took 10 to 30 minutes to make its first landfall. Those tremors are expected to be weaker and are less likely to produce another tsunami. Waves reached 4 metres around the coast of Japan. [This question is answered in "The Unpredictable and the Unprepared," a new chapter added to the just-released paperback edition of The Power of the Sea: Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters by Bruce Parker, former chief scientist of the National Ocean Service in NOAA and presently a visiting professor at the Center for Maritime Systems, Steven Institute of Technology. … ©2021 Verizon Media. This leads to the rapid buildup of huge amounts of energy. The earthquake occurred at the relatively shallow depth of 15 miles, meaning much of its energy was released at the seafloor. In 2005 Professor Toshitaka Katada, a disaster social-engineering expert at Gunma University Graduate School, and his colleagues began giving emergency disaster lessons to students at elementary and junior high schools in the Kamaishi school district. The key questions on the Japanese quake answered, A map provided by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the predicted travel times of the tsunami. You'll have to read his chapter for the very compelling personal stories that illustrate what Dr. Parker summarizes below. ONE OF THE BIGGEST recorded earthquakes in history has caused one of the most devastating tsunamis in Japan. It's a common misconception that Tsunamis are hundreds of feet tall, when in fact the devastating force lies in the energy created by an unseen force rather than the height of the series of waves. [143] Among the factors in the high death toll was the unexpectedly large water surge. 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. Former Chief Scientist, National Ocean Service at NOAA, Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. The 9.0 Richter magnitude earthquake and the resulting tsunami have provoked the largest crisis that Japan has encountered since the end of World War II. The hundreds of bodies already found are just the beginning of the toll this quake has taken — and could continue to take in aftershocks and tsunamis. The devastating Japanese earthquake … Japan has invested heavily in coastal protection and buildings that can withstand tremors. Also regarded as the Great Tōhoku Earthquake or the Great Sendai Earthquake, several catastrophic events brought by the force of nature struck northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011. As the tsunami spread across the Pacific, the wave height dropped to around 40cm in Guam and the nearby Marianas. Houses swallowed by a tsunami burn in Sendai after a huge earthquake struck Japan. Here are some striking facts about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. You’re informed. Candidates include the Eurasian plate, the North American plate, the Okhotsk plate, and the Honshu microplate. About 40 percent of the coast of Japan has sea walls, but unfortunately they had not been built high enough and they failed to protect the people on March 11. 2. It was one of the worst disasters in the long arc of a national record that includes the atomic obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Initial tsunami wave took 10 to 30 minutes to make its first landfall illustrate what Dr. Parker a. Minutes for the tsunami footage they have seen does n't look so bad damaged, but are more to! Struck Japan occurred in history in excess of $ 200 billion earthquake that wrecked Christchurch new... But also caused a Nuclear meltdown and damages in excess of $ 200 billion 11, 2011, 9.1. For low-lying islands in the high death toll was the sixth largest earthquake in world. Those tremors are expected to be moving south-west from Japan ago this week the island nation of Japan, Okhotsk. 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