March 11, 2011 - Huge Earthquake and Tsunami Hits Japan

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan at about 02:46 pm in the afternoon. The earthquake was not too deep, at 24.4 km. It occurred on the boundary between the Pacific and the North American plates. Beginning on March 9, there were many smaller earthquakes (foreshocks) before the main earthquake.

After the earthquake, a huge tsunami hit the coast of Japan and caused widespread damage, killing and injuring many people across the region. As of March 14, several thousand have been found dead, with many more missing. The tsunami continued to travel across the Pacific Ocean, causing damage in Hawaii, as well as in California.  There have been hundreds of aftershocks following the earthquake, with more than two dozen at a magnitude of 6 or greater. The region is continuing to deal with tsunami warnings, which are complicating efforts to save people and clean up.

The tsunami also damaged reactors at the Daiichi nuclear plant in Fukushima. To date, there have been at least three explosions at the plant, which officials believe were due to explosive release of steam. Officials are working to cool the reactors and figure out if they are safe. In the meantime, as a result of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear reactor damage, hundreds of thousands of people are living in shelters, many having lost their homes.

USGS March 11, 2011 Earthquake page

NOAA Center for Tsunami Research and Propagation Model

Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology Educational Resources for March 11, 2011 Earthquake

Google Crisis Response

Global Giving Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

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