2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami Introduction The 2011 Tohoku earthquake, also known as the Great East Japan Earthquake,(Japanese: “Eastern Japan Great Earthquake Disaster” was a magnitude 9. 0 (Mw) undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred on Friday, 11 March 2011 It was the most powerful known earthquake to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world overall since modern record-keeping began in 1900.
In addition to loss of life and destruction of infrastructure, the tsunami caused a number of nuclear accidents, The Japanese National Police Agency has confirmed 15,538 deaths, 5,685 injured, and 7,060 people missing.
45,700 buildings were destroyed and 144,300 were damaged by the quake and tsunami. Earthquake the epicenter was located approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku and the hypocenter at an underwater depth of approximately 32 km (20 mi).
The earthquake triggered extremely destructive tsunami waves of up to 40. 5 metres (133 ft) in Miyako, Iwate, Tohoku.  In some cases traveling up to 10 km (6 mi) inland.
[where? ] Geology This earthquake occurred where the Pacific Plate is subducting under the plate beneath northern Honshu. The Pacific plate, which moves at a rate of 8 to 9 cm (3. 1 to 3. 5 in) per year, dips under Honshu’s underlying plate releasing large amounts of energy. This motion pulls the upper plate down until the stress builds up enough to cause a seismic event.
Energy This earthquake released a surface energy (Me) of 1. 9±0. 5? 1017 joules, dissipated as shaking and tsunamic energy, which is nearly double that of the 9. 1-magnitude 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that killed 230,000 people.
Geophysical impacts The quake moved portions of northeastern Japan by as much as 2. 4 m (7. 9 ft) closer to North America,making portions of Japan’s landmass wider than before. The earthquake shifted the Earth’s axis by estimates of between 10 cm (4 in) and 25 cm (10 in). 26] This deviation led to a number of small planetary changes, including the length of a day and the tilt of the Earth.  The speed of the Earth’s rotation increased, shortening the day by 1. 8 microseconds due to the redistribution of Earth’s mass. [ Aftershocks Japan experienced over 900 aftershocks since the earthquake, with about 60 registering over magnitude 6. 0 Mw and at least three over 7. 0 Mw. A magnitude 7. 7 Mw and a 7. 9 Mw quake occurred on March 11 and the third one struck offshore on 7 April with a disputed magnitude.
Its epicenter was underwater, 66 km (41 mi) off the coast of Sendai. The Japan Meteorological Agency assigned a magnitude of 7. 4 MJMA, Tsunami The earthquake which was caused by 5 to 8 meters upthrust on a 180-km wide seabed at 60 km offshore from the east coast of Tohoku resulted in a major tsunami which brought destruction along the Pacific coastline of Japan’s northern islands and resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and devastated entire towns. The tsunami propagated across the Pacific, and warnings were issued and evacuations carried out.
In many countries bordering the Pacific, including the entire Pacific coast of North and South America from Alaska to Chile; however, while the tsunami was felt in many of these places, it caused only relatively minor effects. Chile’s section of Pacific coast is one of the furthest from Japan, at about 17,000 km (11,000 mi) away, but still was struck by tsunami waves 2 m (6. 6 ft) high.  A wave height of 38. 9 meters (128 ft) was estimated at Omoe peninsula, Miyako city, Iwate prefecture. Elsewhere across the Pacific
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a widespread tsunami warning covering the entire Pacific Ocean. Russia evacuated 11,000 residents from coastal areas of the Kuril Islands.  The United States West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center Issued a tsunami warning for the coastal areas of most of California, all of Oregon, and the western part of Alaska, In California and Oregon, up to 2. 4 m (8 ft) high tsunami surges hit some areas, damaging docks and harbors and causing over US$10 million in damage.  Surges of up to 1 m (3. ft) hit Vancouver Island in Canadaprompting some evacuations, and causing boats to be banned from the waters surrounding the island for 12 hours following the wave strike, leaving many island residents in the area without means of getting to work.  [ 13] Philippines, waves up to 0. 5 m (1. 6 ft) high hit the eastern seaboard of the country. Some houses along the coast in Jayapura, Indonesia were destroyed.  Authorities in Wewak, East Sepik, Papua New Guinea evacuated 100 patients from the city’s Boram Hospital before it was hit by the waves, causing an estimated US$4 million in damages. 130] Hawaii estimated damage to public infrastructure alone at US$3 million, with damage to private properties, including resort hotels such as Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, estimated at tens of millions of dollars.  It was reported that a 1. 5 m (5 ft) high wave completely submergedMidway Atoll’s reef inlets and Spit Island, killing more than 110,000 nesting seabirds at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. In Curry County, Oregon $7 million in damages occurred including the destruction of 3,600 feet of dockspace at he Brookings harbor; the county has received over $1 million in FEMA emergency grants.  Along the Pacific Coast of South America, tsunami surges were reported, Peru reported a wave of 1. 5 m (5 ft) and more than 300 homes damaged.  The surge in Chile was large enough to damage more than 200 houses,with waves of up to 3 m (9. 8 ft). Cities Destroyed Kuji and Ofunato were almost entirely destroyed Also destroyed was Rikuzentakata, where the tsunami was reportedly three stories high. 99] Other cities reportedly destroyed or heavily damaged by the tsunami include Kamaishi, Miyako, Otsuchi, and Yamada (in Iwate Prefecture), Namie, Soma and Minamisoma (in Fukushima Prefecture) and Shichigahama,Higashimatsushima, Onagawa, Natori, Ishinomaki, and Kesennuma (in Miyagi Prefecture. Casualties The National Police Agency has confirmed 15,538 deaths, 5,685 injured, and 7,060 people missing across eighteen prefectures. 92. 5% died by drowning. Victims aged 60 or older accounted for 65. 2% of the deaths, with 24% of total victims being in their 70s. 147] Save the Children reports that as many as 100,000 children were uprooted from their homes, some of whom were separated from their families because the earthquake occurred during the school day. The Japanese Foreign Ministry has confirmed the deaths of nineteen foreigners. [ Japanese funerals are normally elaborate Buddhist ceremonies which entail cremation. The thousands of bodies, however, exceeded the capacity of available crematoriums and morgues, many of them damaged, and there were shortages of both kerosene—each cremation requires 50 liters—and dry ice for preservation.
Governments and the military were forced to bury many bodies in hastily dug mass graves. The tsunami is reported to have caused several deaths outside of Japan also. Economical Loses Early estimates placed insured losses from the earthquake alone at US$14. 5 to $34. 6 billion.  The Bank of Japan offered ? 15 trillion (US$183 billion) to the banking system on 14 March in an effort to normalize market conditions.  The overall cost could exceed US$300 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster on record.  Damage and effects
The degree and extent of damage caused by the earthquake and resulting tsunami were enormous, with most of the damage being caused by the tsunami. Japan’s National Police Agency said on 3 April 2011, that 45,700 buildings were destroyed and 144,300 were damaged by the quake and tsunami. The damaged buildings included 29,500 structures in Miyagi Prefecture, 12,500 in Iwate Prefecture and 2,400 in Fukushima Prefecture.  Three hundred hospitals with 20 beds or more in Tohoku were damaged by the disaster, with 11 being completely destroyed.
An estimated 230,000 automobiles and trucks were damaged or destroyed in the disaster. Electricity According to Tohoku Electric Power (TEP), around 4. 4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity.  Several nuclear and conventional power plants went offline after the earthquake Oil, gas and coal A 220,000-barrel-per-day oil refinery of Cosmo Oil Company was set on fire by the quake atIchihara, Chiba Prefecture, to the east of Tokyo, It was extinguished after ten days, killing or injuring six people.
Nuclear power plants The Fukushima I, Fukushima II, Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant and Tokai nuclear power stations, consisting of a total eleven reactors, were automatically shut down following the earthquake. Japan declared a state of emergency following the failure of the cooling system at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in the evacuation of nearby residents. Water, Soil and Food products were also found contaminated by radioactive matter in several places in Japan Transport Japan’s transport network suffered severe disruptions.
Many sections of Tohoku Expresswayserving northern Japan were damaged. The expressway did not reopen to general public use until 24 March 2011.  All railway services were suspended in Tokyo, with an estimated 20,000 people stranded at major stations across the city. Aftermath The aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami included both a humanitarian crisis and a major economic impact. The tsunami resulted in over 300,000 refugees in the Tohoku region, and shortages of food, water, shelter, medicine and fuel for survivors.