Fukushima Aftermath: Whither the Indian Point Nuke?/The Tsunami
The earthquake which was caused by 5 to 8 meters upthrust on 180-km wide seabed at 60 km offshore from the east coast of Tōhoku resulted in a major tsunami which brought destruction along the Pacific Ocean|Pacific coastline of Japan's northern islands and resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and devastated entire towns. The tsunami propagated across the Pacific, and warnings were issued and evacuations carried out. In many countries bordering the Pacific, including the entire Pacific coast of North and South America from Alaska to Chile; however, while the tsunami was felt in many of these places, it caused only relatively minor effects. Chile's section of Pacific coast is one of the furthest from Japan, at about 17,000 km (11,000 mi) away, but still was struck by tsunami waves 2 m (6.6 ft) high. A wave height of 38.9 meters (128 ft) was estimated at Omoe peninsula, Miyako city, Iwate prefecture.
The tsunami warning issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency was the most serious on its warning scale; it rated as a "major tsunami", being at least 3 m (9.8 ft) high. The actual height predicted varied, the greatest being for Miyagi at 10 m (33 ft) high. The tsunami inundated a total area of approximately 500 square miles, all of it in Japan.
The earthquake took place at 14:46 JST around 67 km (42 mi) from the nearest point on Japan's coastline, and initial estimates indicated the tsunami would have taken 10 to 30 minutes to reach the areas first affected, and then areas farther north and south based on the geography of the coastline. Just over an hour after the earthquake at 15:55 JST, a tsunami was observed flooding Sendai Airport, which is located near the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, with waves sweeping away cars and planes and flooding various buildings as they traveled inland. The impact of the tsunami in and around Sendai Airport was filmed by an NHK News helicopter, showing a number of vehicles on local roads trying to escape the approaching wave and being engulfed by it. A 4 m high tsunami hit Iwate Prefecture. Parts of Sendai was also particularly hard hit. At least 101 designated tsunami evacuation sites were hit by the wave.
More damaging than the earthquakeEdit
Like the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, the damage by surging water, though much more localized, was far more deadly and destructive than the actual quake. There were reports of entire towns destroyed from tsunami-hit areas in Japan, including 9,500 missing in Minamisanriku, Miyagi|Minamisanriku; one thousand bodies had been recovered in the town by 14 March 2011.
Among several factors causing the high death toll from the tsunami, one was the unexpectedly large size of the water surge. The tsunami walls at several of the affected cities were based on much smaller tsunami heights. Also, many people caught in the tsunami thought that they were located on high enough ground to be safe.
Kuji and Ōfunato were almost entirely destroyed Also destroyed was Rikuzentakata, Iwate|Rikuzentakata, where the tsunami was reportedly three stories high. Other cities reportedly destroyed or heavily damaged by the tsunami include Kamaishi, Iwate|Kamaishi, Miyako, Iwate|Miyako, Ōtsuchi, Iwate|Ōtsuchi, and Yamada, Iwate|Yamada (in Iwate Prefecture), Namie, Fukushima|Namie, Sōma, Fukushima|Sōma and Minamisōma, Fukushima|Minamisōma (in Fukushima Prefecture) and Shichigahama, Miyagi|Shichigahama, Higashimatsushima, Miyagi|Higashimatsushima, Onagawa, Miyagi|Onagawa, Natori, Miyagi|Natori, Ishinomaki, Miyagi|Ishinomaki, and Kesennuma, Miyagi|Kesennuma (in Miyagi Prefecture).
Most destruction occurred within one hourEdit
The most severe effects of the tsunami were felt along a 670-km (420 mi)-long stretch of coastline from Erimo, Hokkaido|Erimo in the north to Ōarai in the south, with most of the destruction in that area occurring in the hour following the earthquake. Near Ōarai, people captured images of a huge whirlpool that had been generated by the tsunami. The tsunami washed away the sole bridge to Miyatojima, Miyagi, isolating the island's 900 residents. A two meter high tsunami hit Chiba Prefecture about 2 1/2 hours after the quake, causing heavy damage to cities such as Asahi, Chiba|Asahi.
On 13 March 2011, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) published details of tsunami observations recorded around the coastline of Japan following the earthquake. These observations included tsunami maximum readings of over 3 m (9.8 ft) at the following locations and times on 11 March 2011, following the earthquake at 14:46 JST:
- 15:12 JST – off Kamaishi, Iwate|Kamaishi – 6.8 m (22 ft)
- 15:15 JST – Ōfunato – 3.2 m (10 ft) or higher
- 15:20 JST – Ishinomaki, Miyagi|Ishinomaki-shi Ayukawa – 3.3 m (11 ft) or higher
- 15:21 JST – Miyako, Iwate|Miyako – 4.0 m (13.1 ft) or higher
- 15:21 JST – Kamaishi – 4.1 m (13 ft) or higher
- 15:44 JST – Erimo, Hokkaidō|Erimo-cho Shoya – 3.5 m (11 ft)
- 15:50 JST – Sōma, Fukushima|Sōma – 7.3 m (24 ft) or higher
- 16:52 JST – Ōarai – 4.2 m (14 ft)
These readings were obtained from recording stations maintained by the JMA around the coastline of Japan. Many areas were also affected by waves of 1 to 3 meters (3.3 to 9.8 ft) in height, and the JMA bulletin also included the caveat that "At some parts of the coasts, tsunamis may be higher than those observed at the observation sites." The timing of the earliest recorded tsunami maximum readings ranged from 15:12 to 15:21, between 26 and 35 minutes after the earthquake had struck. The bulletin also included initial tsunami observation details, as well as more detailed maps for the coastlines affected by the tsunami waves.
- Port of Hachinohe – 5–6 m (16–19 ft)
- Port of Hachinohe area – 8–9 m (26–29 ft)
- Port of Kuji, Iwate|Kuji – 8–9 m (26–29 ft)
- Mooring (watercraft)|Mooring GPS wave height meter at offshore of central Iwate Prefecture|Iwate (Miyako, Iwate|Miyako) – 6 m (20 ft)
- Port of Kamaishi, Iwate|Kamaishi – 7–9 m (23–30 ft)
- Mooring GPS wave height meter at offshore of southern Iwate Prefecture|Iwate (Kamaishi, Iwate|Kamaishi) – 6.5 m (22 ft)
- Port of Ōfunato, Iwate|Ōfunato – 9.5 m (31 ft)
- Run up height, port of Ōfunato, Iwate|Ōfunato area – 24 m (79 ft)
- Mooring GPS wave height meter at offshore of northern Miyagi Prefecture|Miyagi – 5.6 m (18 ft)
- Fishery port of Onagawa, Miyagi|Onagawa – 15 m (50 ft)
- Port of Ishinomaki, Miyagi|Ishinomaki – 5 m (16 ft)
- Mooring GPS wave height meter at offshore of central Miyagi Prefecture|Miyagi – could not measure
- Shiogama section of Shiogama, Miyagi|Shiogama-Sendai port – 4 m (13 ft)
- Sendai section of Shiogama-Sendai port – 8 m (26 ft)
- Sendai Airport area – 12 m (39 ft)
A joint research team from Yokohama National University and the University of Tokyo also reported that the tsunami at Ryōri Bay (綾里白浜), Ōfunato was about 30 m high. They found fishing equipment scattered on the high cliff above the bay. At Tarō, Iwate, a University of Tokyo researcher reported an estimated tsunami height of 37.9 m (124 ft) reached the slope of a mountain some 200 m (656 ft) away from the coastline. Also, at slope of nearby mountain from 400 m (1,312 ft) Aneyoshi fishery port (姉吉漁港) of Omoe peninsula (重茂半島) in Miyako, Iwate, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology found estimated tsunami run up height of 38.9 m (127 ft). This height is deemed the record in Japan historically, as of reporting date, that exceeds 38.2 m (125 ft) from the 1896 Meiji-Sanriku earthquake.
Elsewhere across the PacificEdit
Shortly after the earthquake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii issued tsunami watches and warnings for locations in the Pacific. At 07:30 UTC, PTWC issued a widespread tsunami warning covering the entire Pacific Ocean. Russia evacuated 11,000 residents from coastal areas of the Kuril Islands. The United States West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for the coastal areas of most of California, all of Oregon, and the western part of Alaska, and a tsunami advisory covering the Pacific coastlines of most of Alaska, and all of Washington state|Washington and British Columbia, Canada. In California and Oregon, up to 2.4 m (8 ft) high tsunami surges hit some areas, damaging docks and harbors and causing over US$10 million of damage. Surges of up to 1 m (3.3 ft) hit Vancouver Island in Canada 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.
In the Philippines, waves up to 0.5 m (1.6 ft) high hit the eastern seaboard of the country. Some houses along the coast in Jayapura, Indonesia were destroyed. 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 damages. Hawaii estimated damage to public infrastructure alone at US$3 million, with damage to private properties, including resort hotels such as Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, estimated at tens of millions of dollars. It was reported that a 1.5 m (5 ft) high wave completely submerged Midway Atoll|Midway Atoll's reef inlets and Spit Island, killing more than 110,000 nesting seabirds at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Some other South Pacific countries, including Tonga and New Zealand, and U.S. territories American Samoa and Guam, experienced larger-than-normal waves, but did not report any major damage. However in Guam some roads were closed off and people were evacuated from low-lying areas.
Along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and South America, tsunami surges were reported, but in most places caused little or no damage. Peru reported a wave of 1.5 m (5 ft) and more than 300 homes damaged. The surge in Chile was large enough to damage more than 200 houses, with waves of up to 3 m (9.8 ft). In the Galapagos Islands, 260 families received assistance following a 3 m (9.8 ft) surge which arrived 20 hours after the earthquake, after the tsunami warning had been lifted. There was a great deal of damage to buildings on the islands and one man was injured but there were no reported fatalities.
- NHK BS News reported 2011-04-03-02:55 JST
- "Tsunami bulletin number 3". Pacific Tsunami Warning Center/NOAA/NWS. 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5xtOkrlRB. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- Wire Staff (11 March 2011). "Tsunami warnings issued for at least 20 countries after quake". CNN. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5x7ZhqeGg. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "PTWC warnings complete list". Archived from the original on 12 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5xtOl9IMr. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "Distance between Dichato, Chile and Sendai, Japan is 17228km". Mapcrow.info. 23 October 2007. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2MyHOLX. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- Attwood, James. "Chile Lifts Tsunami Alerts After Japan Quake Spawns Waves". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 13 March 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5x9TDnE6z. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- "Chilean site: (Tsunami) waves penetrated 70–100 m in different parts of the country". Publimetro.cl. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5x8nBYA6I. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Tsunami Warning System information, Japan Meteorological Agency Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- "Tsunami Information (Estimated Tsunami arrival time and Height)". 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2Myu8dF.
- NHK, "Tsunami floods 500 sq km", 26 March 2011.
- One estimate of 10–15 minutes came from German seismologist Rainer Kind of the Helmholtz Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, as interviewed in Japan's tsunami victims only had 15 minutes warning, Deutsche Welle, 12 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
Another estimate of 15–30 minutes came from Vasily V. Titov, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Center for Tsunami Research, as reported in Japan tsunami: Toll could rise to more than 1,300, NDTV-hosted copy of an article by Martin Fackler, The New York Times, March 12, 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2011. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- "News: Tsunami rolls through Pacific, Sendai Airport under water, Tokyo Narita closed, Pacific region airports endangered". Avherald.com. 6 July 2001. http://avherald.com/h?article=43928907&opt=0. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "10-meter tsunami observed in area near Sendai in Miyagi Pref". The Mainichi Daily News. 11 March 2011. http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110311p2g00m0dm056000c.html. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "World English". NHK. 12 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2N15e9F. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
- "Japan 8.9-magnitude earthquake sparks massive tsunami". Herald Sun. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2N2qupV. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- NHK News, ~16:00 JST.
- "Earthquake, tsunami wreak havoc in Japan". rian.ru. 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2N3oO2o. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- "Earthquake", Japan Times, 19 March 2011, p. 16.
- Kyodo News, "Tsunami hit more than 100 designated evacuation sites", Japan Times, 14 April 2011, p. 1. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- "9,500 unaccounted for in Miyagi's Minamisanriku: local gov't". Kyodo News. Archived from the original on 27 March 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5xVaNHwLr. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Kyodo News, "2,000 more added to death toll in Miyagi", Japan Times, 15 March 2011, p. 1. Archived March 15, 2011 at WebCite
- Watts, Jonathan, "Quake survivors search for hope and shelter", Japan Times, 26 March 2011, p. 13.
- Tritten, Travis, J., and T. D. Flack, "U.S. rescue teams find devastation in northern city of Ofunato", Stars and Stripes (newspaper)|Stars and Stripes, 15 March 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011. Archived March 15, 2011 at WebCite
- "Whole towns gone-no cars or people seen". Yomiuri. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2N7iOj8. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Staff Reporter (12 March 2011) "Wiped off the map: The moment apocalyptic tsunami waves drown a sleepy coast town". www.dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 12 March 2011. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- "Honderden doden in Japanse kuststad (Hundreds dead in Japanese coastal town)" (in Dutch). www.rtlnieuws.nl. Retrieved 12 March 2011. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- "Japan army says 300–400 bodies found in Rikuzentakata: Report". Nst.com.my. 3 February 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2eWPcEX. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Martin, Alex, "JET post best, not 'pityfest'", Japan Times, 7 April 2011, p. 3. Archived April 6, 2011 at WebCite
- Kyodo News, "Miyagi coastal whaling port pulverized, little more than memory", Japan Times, 18 March 2011, p. 3. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Kyodo News, "Deaths, people missing set to top 1,600: Edano", Japan Times, 13 March 2011.
- Kyodo News, "Survivors in trauma after life-changing nightmare day", Japan Times, 13 March 2011, p. 2.
- Kyodo News, "Death toll may surpass 10,000 in Miyagi", Japan Times, 14 March 2011, p. 1. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Alabaster, Jay, and Todd Pitman, (Associated Press), "Hardships, suffering in earthquake zone", Japan Times, 15 March 2011, p. 3. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Gihooly, Rob, "'Nothing can prepare you to witness this', Japan Times, 20 March 2011, p. 7. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Tsunami Slams Japan After Record Earthquake, Killing Hundreds, 11 March (Bloomberg), San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
- "Japan disaster: 30 powerful images of the earthquake and tsunami". The Daily Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aIu9yT.
- Kyodo News, "Survivors on cut-off isle were ready for disaster", Japan Times, 19 March 2011, p. 2. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Fukue, Natsuko, "Tsunami came late to unprepared Chiba", Japan Times, 30 March 2011, p. 2. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Tsunami Information NUMBER 64 (Tsunami Observation), Japan Meteorological Agency, issued 18:05 JST 13 March 2011, Retrieved 14 March 2011. The Iwate Kamaishi-oki reading was obtained by GPS wave meter. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Tsunami Information NUMBER 64 (Tsunami Observation), Japan Meteorological Agency, issued 18:05 JST 13 March 2011, Retrieved 14 March 2011. (Tohoku district.) Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Tsunami Information NUMBER 64 (Tsunami Observation), Japan Meteorological Agency, issued 18:05 JST 13 March 2011, Retrieved 14 March 2011. (Kanto/Chubu district.) Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- "東北地方の港湾における被災状況について(現地調査速報)(平成23年東北地方太平洋沖地震) [The situation of damage of ports in Tohoku region (site survey)(2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami)]" (in Japanese). Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan: Port and Airport Research Institute (:ja:港湾空港技術研究所. 23 March 2011. http://www.pari.go.jp/information/20110311/p20110323.html. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- "別紙2：各港の調査状況について (PDF/608KB) [Attachment 2: Site survey of Site Tsunami height on each port (PDF/608KB)]" (in Japanese) (PDF). Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan: Port and Airport Research Institute (:ja:港湾空港技術研究所. 23 March 2011. http://www.pari.go.jp/information/20110311/p20110323-3.pdf. Retrieved 28 March 2011.
- "Researchers: 30-meter tsunami in Ofunato". NHK. Archived from the original on 4 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5xgge4dkh. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- "38-meter-high tsunami triggered by March 11 quake: survey". Kyodo News. 2011-04-03. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/04/82888.html.
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- "宮古市田老小堀内漁港での津波遡上高 [Tunami run up height at Miyako city, Taro Koborinai fishing port]" (in Japanese). Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo. 3 April 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aNqnv8. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
- "Evacuate all coastal areas immediately, Hawaii Civil Defense says". 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aNwJDv. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- "Text of PTWC Pacific-wide tsunami warning". 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aPN3r1. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- CP, Google (11 March 2011). "Tsunami from Japanese quake prompts evacuation of 11,000 residents on Russia's Pacific islands". The Associated Press. http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jMyXHn6-Zf70Nko_mlrnCh8hmaNA. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- "Tsunami Warning and Advisory #7 issued 03/11/2011 at 3:39 am PST". Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aPSHnh. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- "B.C. tsunami threat passes". CBC.ca. 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aPYw8r. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Helen Jung and Jeff Manning, "Waves bring destruction to Oregon's south coast", The Oregonian, 12 March 2011, p. 1+
- Twilight tsunami evacuation. Courier Mail (2011-03-14). Retrieved on 2011-04-03. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Girl, Bowen. (2011-03-16) Diary of a Bowen girl: Japan. Redactedperpolicycom. Retrieved on 2011-04-03. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- "Tsunami destroys houses in Jayapura". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5x8nZ4NKe. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- "PNG's Wewak hospital damaged by tsunami waves". Australia Broadcasting Corporation. 16 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aR4SvC. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Nakaso, Dan (14 March 2011)Tsunami damage estimate for Hawaii now tens of millions Star Advertiser. Retrieved 15 March 2011. Archived March 15, 2011 at WebCite
- "Tsunami washes away feathered victims west of Hawaii". CNN. 19 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aSZldy. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- "South Pacific islands hit by tsunami swells". 11 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aT3dXN. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Tsunami Warning For Guam Extended Until 11 p.m. Pacificnewscenter.com (2011-03-11). Retrieved on 2011-04-03.
- Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- Minor damage in Latin America by Japan's tsunami, channelnewsasia.com, 13 March 2011
- (Spanish) Más de 200 casas dañadas dejó seguidilla de olas. ANSA Latina. 03/13/2011. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- (Spanish) Caldera: 80 viviendas resultaron destruidas en Puerto Viejo por efecto de las olas. Radio Bio-Bio. 3/12/2011. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- (Spanish) Más de 200 casas dañadas dejó seguidilla de olas que azotaron las costas chilenas La Tercera. 3/12/2011. Archived April 18, 2011 at WebCite
- "Gareth Morgan's Galapagos hotel destroyed by tsunami". The National Business Review. 13 March 2011. Archived from the original on 16 March 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5xDmAc8LQ. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- "Ecuador Sends Aid To Galapagos After Islands Hit By Tsunami From Japan". LATIN AMERICA NEWS DISPATCH. 15 March 2011. Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5y2aXFEsJ. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- Tsunami Aftermath in Galapagos: Update from CDRS' Director Dr. J. Gabriel Lopez. Galapagos.org. Retrieved on 2011-04-03. Archived March 15, 2011 at WebCite
- Gareth Morgan's Galapagos hotel destroyed by tsunami|The National Business Review. Nbr.co.nz. Retrieved on 2011-04-03. Archived March 16, 2011 at WebCite