This is an open ocean view of the March 11, 2011 tsunami that wrought destruction along the Pacific coastline of Japan’s northern islands. Watching the video, it’s hard to comprehend the destructive power in this massive wave, although one person commented at YouTube:
Unless you’ve been out at sea it’s hard to really comprehend the feeling of total vulnerability you feel with? such an unpredictable event coming at you in open ocean.
The tsunami propagated outward from a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake, just 43 miles from its nearest point to Japan. It varied in wave height in different places along the Japanese coast, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, with the greatest wave height in Miyagi at 33 feet.
After the earthquake, the tsunami would have taken 10 to 30 minutes to reach the parts of Japan first affected. It eventually propagated across the Pacific, and – although warnings were issued and evacuations carried out in many countries, including the entire Pacific coast of North and South America from Alaska to Chile – it caused only relatively minor effects in these places.
The tsunami’s most distant point from Japan was about 11,000 miles away, along the coast of Chile, where waves were about 6 feet high.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.