Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

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Id: Jitveer Atwal Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011

After doing research on significant events that occurred in the past 12 months within the Pacific Rim, the topic I finally decided to do my research report on was the recent earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan’s many cities. I chose this topic because I was really interested about learning more about the issue and how significant it actually was. My purpose in writing this research essay is simply to explore and explain in detail where and why these natural disasters occurred, the background history of the issue, and how Japan has been affected environmentally, socially, and economically by these events. In addition, I will also look into initiatives the government is taking and is planning to take in order to recover from this phenomenon. On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by massive 8.9 earthquake at about 05:46:23 UTC. Many cities, including the capital Tokyo, were devastated by the earthquake. The quake was a result of the pacific plate subducting underneath the Japan plate. It had occurred about eighty miles east of the city of Sendai near the northeast coast of Honshu and about 15.2 miles deep which caused the seafloor to uplift and shift vertically (Parry). This in turn triggered the destructive tsunami. In the image (Fig. 1) below, you can see the height of the tsunami at different locations ("IBN live"). The massive waves of the tsunami measured as high as 10 meters and affected mostly the north eastern coastal regions of Japan, such as Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima.

The earthquake was the world’s fifth largest earthquake since 1900 and Japan’s most powerful earthquake ever recorded. The amount of devastation this disaster caused cannot be underestimated as every town in the country had been devastated one way or another. For example, the earthquake easily damaged and destroyed many buildings in Japan and caused a number of deadly landslides. The tsunami washed far inland and sparked a number of fires throughout the towns and cities of Japan as well as sweeping out trees, cars, homes, people, and many communities of animals in the wildlife. This in turn shifted the whole coast of Japan by an incredible 8 feet and left thousands of people injured, missing, or dead. As you can see below (fig.2), a boat is being pulled in by a huge powerful whirlpool which was created after the tsunami (Derbyshire). In addition, the country experienced 160 aftershocks within the first day which measured 5.0 or more on the rector scale and is still experiencing many aftershocks of the earthquake today (Voigt). This in turn is resisting the many businesses of Japan to open up again. These disasters have enormously affected the economy of Japan, due to the fact that the damage cost was estimated to be around $309 billion dollars surpassing Hurricane Katrina, and because North America relies heavily on automobiles, electronics, and many other resources from Japan. The country suggests that damage and the much needed rebuilding of homes, buildings, train tracks, electric power lines, and many other damaged necessities could take up to years and years. The really astonishing thing about this phenomenon is the fact that not only the country of Japan was affected. For example, the earthquake was felt as far as Beijing and the tsunami had caused many high waves to hit the coasts of Hawaii, Mexico and California which ended up crashing and damaging many boats. The tsunami was so powerful, that it also sucked in and killed many swimmers on west coast of the United States. According to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy, “the earthquake shifted the planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches” (Voigt). However, one of the biggest...
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