Tsunami and Earthquakes in Japan

Minneapolis, MN

Airline Travelers Guide
March 11, 2011
Created: 912a.m. Central Time
Last updated: 5:03pm CT

Current Time in Minneapolis:

Tsunami Caused by 8.9 Magnitude Earthquake Devastated Japan

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Sendai, a city located in northwestern Japan, caused a devastating tsunami, as reported by

major television agencies this morning. The earthquake, the strongest in the history of Japan after 140 years, has caused up to 13 foot waves tsunamis. CNN showed some videos of mud pushing boats, buildings, cars and other structures inland, covering the rice fields, dragging everything it came in contact with, and bashing them into pieces. An 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Sendai, a city located in northwestern Japan, caused a devastating tsunami, as reported by

Video footage from television early this morning showed people taking refuge on top of the airport of Sendai, and several people trapped inside some building waving blankets and sheets, to call attention the rescuers. The rescuers started immediately, and as of 900 a.m. Central Time, confirmed that they recovered about 300 bodies from the devastated area. Of course, the body count will rise later as soon as all the areas are reached. That does not count the bodies that were swept into the Pacific Ocean.

YouTube Videos Show Japan Earthquake: MyFoxATLANTA.com

Tokyo, about 230 miles away from the epicenter, felt the aftershocks, numerous of them (reported over 30), some as strong as 7.4 magnitude. One man (an American English teacher living in Japan), was who videotaping a building shouted "Oh my God, the building is going to fall".
When he was interviewed by CNN later, he stated that he and his wife went outside between two buildings, and when they tried to stand, they could not even stand biggest of the strength of the tremors. They were crouching on the ground after they started the video.

What are tsunamis

Tsunamis are a series of seismic waves caused by a disturbance on the ocean floor, like an earthquake, or a volcano eruption underneath the ocean. This one that hit Japan tsunami was caused by the 8.9 earthquake, the strongest earthquake that Japan has experienced in more than a decade (140 years, October 1707 was the last one, with a magnitude of 8.6). This tsunami is the 5th largest in the world. As of time of this writing, about 180 bodies have been recovered and the number is expected to rise as the city sees the daylight.

The activities were halted in the city of Tokyo, a busy metropolis that depends on the bullet train for transportation. The trains and the all transportation were halted for fear of another earthquake. Motorists and pedestrians were stranded all over. The sale of bicycle was brisk in devastated areas where roads are impassable, making bicycles the easiest means of commuting. Tokyo's Narita Airport, an international hub, was closed to inbound and outbound flight, but soon was reopened. Delta Airlines, Minneapolis' largest airline, whose Asia hub is the Narita airport, reported that services are now resumed but there are a limited number of inbound and outbound flights allowed. This is is similar to our airports' "ground stop" whenever the weather is not conducive for normal air traffic.

Japan's Nuclear Power Plant Causes Forced Evacuation

Japan depends so much on nuclear power for their electricity. Videos showed several burning buildings, including nuclear power plants. There are 50 nuclear power plants in Japan. The ones closer to devastated areas are seen burning and are reported to have heated more than 1000 times its normal heat. Explosions that can cause more deaths are very likely, causing a forced evacuation at those areas. Efforts to cool off the generators of the plants failed, according to the Japanese government. They reported that there was not enough electricity to pump water to cool the generators.

Tsunami and the Pacific Islands

The massive 8.9 magnitude quake in Japan triggered tsunami warnings for most of the Pacific basin, including northern California and Oregon, Indonesia, Guam, and the Philippines. About 2 hours ago, Guam and Indonesia lifted the warnings. "It is very possible there may be some evacuations here," California Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jordan Scott said by telephone to a news agency, adding that the far northern California area near the Oregon border was most likely to see big waves. In Hawaii, some 3,800 miles (6,200 km) from Japan, the main airports on at least three of the major islands -- Maui, Kauai and the Big Island of Hawaii -- were shut down as a precaution, and the U.S. Navy ordered all warships in Pearl Harbor to remain in port to support rescue missions as needed. Civil defense officials ordered all Hawaiian coastal areas evacuated by 2 a.m. local time, about 90 minutes before the first wave reached the islands at about 8:30 a.m. EST/1330 GMT. Authorities also ordered evacuations from low-lying areas on the U.S. island territory of Guam in the western Pacific, but the tsunami warning there was lifted several hours later and roads there were reopened. President Barack Obama was notified of the massive Japanese quake at 4 a.m./0900 GMT and instructed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be prepared. President Obama is a native of Hawaii. The United States immediately sent its help to the government of Japan to help in the relief and recovery operations.

Tsunamis to Hit California

The State of California could see waves as high as 6 ft., according to the news agency, Reuters. It could even force some evacuations, according to the emergency authorities. Warnings have been sent from the northern states of the U.S. coast, down to the coastal areas of Mexico.

The United States is waiting for the waves to come on shore.

Chile Warned of Soon-to-come Tsunami

The Mexican cities on the Pacific coast have been warned of the soon-to-come tsunamis, which may occur from 8 hours or so after it first struck Japan.

Meanwhile, back in Japan, the city of Nagano has experienced an earthquake which is not related to the one that hit Sendai region. It was recorded at 7.0 + magnitude.

Daylight Shows Devastation

The day after. The daylight at Sendai is now showing the monstrous and horrendous effect of the tsunami that happened at 245pm the day before. Debris is all over, and the agricultural lands are filled with those buildings and cars and boats that were pushed by the tsunami waves inland, as far as 6 miles away from the shore. It could not easily be ascertained at this point the actual massive damage, except to say that it is "enormous". The images shown on television are similar to the ones shown when Katrina hit the United States. A Japanese-American woman plead on television for help in finding her 86 year-old grandmother. The human casualties are expected to rise to more than 1,000 as the day progresses. The medical workers turned a parking lot in front of what seems like a school building into a helicopter pad, an image I saw at CNN.

"Pray and Wait"

For most of the residents, and us, here in the U.S. who are watching this apocalyptic calamity could not do anything at this time but to "pray and wait". Several of my Delta airlines former co-workers were just in Japan a couple of days ago. They updated us FB friends that they were at Narita Airport waiting for their flight back to Minneapolis, Minnesota, our home.

I am glad that they are now home.

Like the rest of residents of the people of Japan, and the rest of the nation, let us "pray and wait". Let us hope for the best!

EditaNLaurel, Web Editor

Edita N. Laurel,
Your Web Editor

Day Two here >>>>

  • As of 224am CT, there have been 173 aftershocks reportedin Japan, some are of 7.0+ magnitude
  • Tsunami and Earthquakes in Japan: Day 2 here
  • As of 224am CT, there have been 173 aftershocks reportedin Japan, some are of 7.0+ magnitude
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