Some geologists argue that this portion of the Eurasian Plate is actually a fragment of the North American Plate called the Okhotsk microplate.
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A part of the subduction zone measuring approximately miles km long by 95 miles km wide lurched as much as feet 50 metres to the east-southeast and thrust upward about 33 feet 10 metres. It was preceded by several foreshocks, including a magnitude Hundreds of aftershocks, dozens of magnitude 6. Nearly two years later, on December 7, , a magnitude The quake caused no injuries and little damage.
The Japanese 2011 Tsunami
The March 11, , 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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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. Large stretches of land were left submerged under seawater, particularly in lower-lying areas. The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings throughout the Pacific basin.
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The tsunami raced outward from the epicentre at speeds that approached about miles km per hour. It generated waves 11 to 12 feet 3. Several hours later 9-foot 2. Finally, some 18 hours after the quake, waves roughly 1 foot 0.
The waves hit the eastern coast of Japan about 1. The foot 7-meter tsunami swept away boats, cars, homes and people, according to news reports.
So far 88 people have been confirmed killed and hundreds more are missing. The speed at which tsunamis travel depends on the depth of the water, so the wave propagating across the deep ocean will travel faster than the one headed toward the nearby shore. Geological Survey in Pasadena, Calif.
The tsunami has already hit the tiny North Pacific island of Midway, which lies about 1, miles 2, kilometers northwest of Honolulu, with waves up to 5 feet 1. The waves have also already arrived at Hawaii in the wee hours of the morning there, but did not seem to be as large as the original 6 feet predicted, according to the Associated Press. Coastal residents were evacuated.
Preparing for Japan's Next Tsunami | Pulitzer Center
Waves are predicted to hit the western coast of the United States between 11 a. EST 8 a. PST Friday. The tsunami has begun to arrive in Southern California and the threat will continue for several hours.
Waves have also been reported along the Oregon coast, near the California border. It will be several hours after this initial time before tsunami watchers will be able to say the threat is over, Barberopoulou, who is monitoring tide gauge reports across California, said. Tsunamis can travel so far across the ocean because there is little in there way to slow them down. Tsunamis at sea are not the monster waves that might be imagined — they are at most a few meters high and are spread over tens to hundreds of kilometers.
As the tsunami approaches a shoreline, where the rise of the continental slope means water levels are shallower, the wave begins to narrow and become higher. Waves, of course, have two parts: the peak and the trough.
Dispatch from Japan: James Nachtwey’s Impressions in Words and Pictures
With a tsunami, the trough the low point of a wave is the first part to arrive, causing the sea to recede far from the shore — a telltale sign of an impending tsunami. Next, the peak of the wave hits the shore — a process called runup.
Except for the largest tsunamis, such as the Indian Ocean event , most tsunamis do not result in giant breaking waves like normal surf waves at the beach that curl over as they approach shore. Most tsunamis come in like a very fast-moving high tide.