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HISTORIC ARTICLE

HISTORIC ARTICLE

Mar 11, 2011 CE: Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

Mar 11, 2011 CE: Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in its recorded history.

Grades

4 - 12

Subjects

Earth Science, Geography, Oceanography, Physical Geography

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced the strongest earthquake in its recorded history. The earthquake struck below the North Pacific Ocean, 130 kilometers (81 miles) east of Sendai, the largest city in the Tohoku region, a northern part of the island of Honshu. The Tohoku earthquake caused a tsunami. A tsunami—Japanese for “harbor wave”—is a series of powerful waves caused by the displacement of a large body of water. Most tsunamis, like the one that formed off Tohoku, are triggered by underwater tectonic activity, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Tohoku tsunami produced waves up to 40 meters (132 feet) high, More than 450,000 people became homeless as a result of the tsunami. More than 15,500 people died. The tsunami also severely crippled the infrastructure of the country. In addition to the thousands of destroyed homes, businesses, roads, and railways, the tsunami caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The Fukushima nuclear disaster released toxic, radioactive materials into the environment and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes and businesses.

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Writer
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Producer
National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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