Japan earthquake and tsunami 2011

At 2:46pm Japan time on March 11, 2011 a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Northern Japan. It was the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded and it created an enormous tsunami that rushed towards the Japanese shore, bringing devastation wherever it hit. It look roughly 30 minute after the earthquake for the tsunami to strike and the destruction has been widespread ever since.

The tsunami spread to the rest of the pacific and over the next 24 hours struck Hawaii, the US Mainland, Latin American countries, and even South America. The earthquake wrought much destruction and was followed by countless aftershocks but the tsunami is the real disaster. The water moves at 500 miles an hour and is incredibly heavy as it washes ashore pushing aside almost anything in its path.

Houses crumbled, cars were swept away, and countless people died. The death toll will continue to rise in coming weeks as more people are discovered and those that are currently missing are pronounced dead. The images of the flooding the tsunami brought that appeared on television in the web after the earthquake are shocking, to say the least.

The power of the water carried cars right off the road, some with people in them. Those that were caught trying to get away were tossed around as if the cars were made of balsa wood. Those on the elevated highways were generally spared as the water levels simply didn’t get that high. Even large 18 wheeler trucks were carried away by the incredible power of the water that just seemed to keep coming. The sheer volume of it was incredible.

Towns in northern Japan have disappeared under water. Anything close to the shoreline near the quake’s epicenter was essentially overrun with buildings collapsing under the force of the water and almost everything disappearing. Most people were warned sufficiently right after the quake and they fled for higher ground so the number of casualties has been fairly low considering the destruction wrought by the wall of water that moved through much of Japan.

Many evacuees are now huddled in tents hoping to stay warm and make it to more permanent housing after the mess has been cleaned up. That effort is going to take some time though. First all the missing have to be found and then the massive amounts of debris stirred up by the tsunami has to be cleared away. It’s a tough and long job and it will take lots of time. Japan will recover and might even come back stronger.

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