EcoAlert: Google Maps Japan’s Tsunami


The 11 March earthquake that struck the Tohoku region of north-east Japan resulted in tsunami devastating large areas, penetrating over 5 kilometres inland and killing over 15,000 people. The epic wave has now been mapped in detail for the first time based on surveying 2000 kilometres of Japanese coastline, including over 5300 locations.

On the resulting map, shown above, the red bars show the height above sea level of the resulting flood, which in some places was as much as 19.5 metres. The blue shading illustrates how far inland the tsunami travelled.

The researcher team concluded that it is still not possible to accurately predict how a given tsunami will behave once it hits the land.

Image credit: GeoEye/Digital Globe/MIRC/JHA/Google


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