Sunday, March 11, 2012

Honshu Japan One Year Later

1 Year Anniversary
Devastating 9.0 Mag Quake
Honshu, Japan

It was a year ago today that the world watched as a very powerful earthquake hit off the coast of Honshu, Japan.  What followed was an equally powerful tsunami.  Both of these events caused caused significant loss of life and damages throughout Japan.   They also started the largest nuclear crisis of modern times as the reactors were near meltdown.  The quake and tsunami left 16,000 dead and 3,000 people injured.


A moment of prayerful silence was held across the country at 2:46 pm, the precise time the 9.0 magnitude quake occurred off Japan's Pacific coast on March 11, 2011.   In Tokyo, about 1,200 people, including the Emperor and the Empress, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and families of the victims, attended Sunday's ceremony. 

In Washington, DC, President Barack Obama said, "As we mark one year since the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters in Japan, Michelle and I join all Americans in honoring the memory of the 19,000 victims lost or missing. We continue to be inspired by the Japanese people, who faced unimaginable loss with extraordinary fortitude. Their resilience and determination to rebuild stronger than before is an example for us all."  

Lasting Effects

When the earthquake and tsunami struck, Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant lost off-site power, throwing out its primary and backup cooling systems.  The nuclear fuel overheated despite company efforts to pump first seawater and then freshwater in to cool it. Hydrogen gas built up and exploded, blasting open four of the facility's six reactor buildings and spreading radiation far and wide in air, soil and seawater.

Nuclear meltdowns at three of the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi went officially unacknowledged for months. The Japanese government ordered everyone within 30 kilometers of the damaged nuclear plant to evacuate and opened shelters for evacuees in schools and public buildings.

At today's memorial service in Tokyo, Prime Minister Noda said, "We will provide all possible support for the affected areas, which are now trying to revive their hometowns as safer and more livable towns. "We will do our best to revive Fukushima and recreate a beautiful hometown." 

Quakes Continue

This region of Japan is prone to earthquakes. In fact, the image included here from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, isn't from one year ago, but rather from today. A much weaker quake, measuring at Magnitude 4.7 , hit in the same location off the shore of  Honshu, Japan.  For the people of  Japan, it is something that they live with all their lives.

Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 11:08:26 UTC 

Earthquake Details

Location38.682°N, 142.577°E
Depth35.8 km (22.2 miles)
Distances155 km (96 miles) ENE of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
167 km (103 miles) SE of Morioka, Honshu, Japan
201 km (124 miles) ENE of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan
416 km (258 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 17.9 km (11.1 miles); depth +/- 8.1 km (5.0 miles)
ParametersNST= 19, Nph= 19, Dmin=374 km, Rmss=0.94 sec, Gp=220°,
M-type=body wave magnitude (Mb), Version=7
  • Magnitude: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
    Location: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
Event IDusb0008exk

Our continued thoughts and prayers for the people of Japan.  May the hopes of the Prime Minister, to revive the area, become a reality.

Related Blog Posts: 

Cruise Lines Return to Japan  (six months later, some cruise lines have returned)


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