Before (below) and after (above) satellite images of flooding from the tsunami near Sendai, Japan, following the massive and devastating earthquake on March 11, 2011.
The above images are from NASA’s Terra satellite. The before image is from February 26, and the after image is from March 12. A comparison of the images shows the extent of the flooding along the coast near Sendai.
It’s difficult to see the coastline in the after image, but a thin green line outlines the shore, which is higher elevation land. The 10 kilometer indicator line on the images shows just how far the flood water has reached inland. Water appears to cover ground as much as five kilometers or three miles inland.
NASA says that both these images were created with a combination of infrared and visible light, which contrasts the muddy water and land.
Japan Earthquake Map
This earthquake map image shows the epicenter of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck on March 11, 2011 at 2.46pm local Japan time. The epicenter was 130 kilometers or 80 miles east of Sendai, and 373 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, which felt the quake strongly. High–rise buildings in Tokyo swayed incredibly (video), but none fell. If initial measurements are confirmed, it will be recorded as the world’s fifth largest earthquake since 1900, and the worst in Japan’s history.
The map shows both the foreshocks (dotted lines) and aftershocks (solid lines), as well as the earthquake that caused the devastation (labeled). The biggest of the foreshocks was a sizable 7.2 quake. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake occurred at a depth of 24.4 kilometers under the seafloor.
The largest earthquake sent tsunami waves speeding toward the coast and out into the Pacific, with some significant waves reaching the California coastline.
Images by NASA Earth Observatory, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC