日核電廠 4級意外事故(福島第1核電廠1號機)InternationalNuclear and Ra...
Very strong quake rattles Japan
Smoke rises from a building near Tokyo Bay in this photo taken from the waterfront district of Tokyo's Chuo Ward on Friday. (Mitsuyoshi Amata)Cans of beer toppled from shelves at this liquor store in Tokyo's Koto Ward during a strong earthquake that hit Friday. (Azumi Fukuoka)Cans of beer are strewn across the floor of a liquor store in Tokyo's Koto Ward after a strong quake jolted eastern Japan on Friday. (Azumi Fukuoka)
Editor's note: We will update our earthquake news as frequently as possile on AJW's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AJW.Asahi. Please check to keep informed on what’s happening. / Toshio Jo, managing editor at International Division, The Asahi Shimbun.
* * *
An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.9 struck off the northern coast of Japan on Friday, shaking buildings in Tokyo and triggering tsunami warnings.
It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties. Smoke could be seen billowing from some buildings in the capital.
The Japan Meteorological Agency put the epicenter of the quake off the eastern coast of Miyagi Prefecture, which is part of the Tohoku region.
The temblor hit at 2:46 p.m. and was followed by strong aftershocks.
According to reports, the quake had an intensity of 7 on the Japanese scale of 7 in Kurihara, Miyagi Prefecture, and upper 6 in parts of Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures.
Services on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, as well as on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines, were suspended.
Warnings for large tsunami were issued for the Pacific coast of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. Tsunami warnings were also issued for coastal areas of Hokkaido, Aomori, Ibaraki, Chiba, and Shizuoka prefectures.
All services on the Tokyo Metro subway systems in the Tokyo metropolitan area were stopped.
The government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan set up an emergency disaster headquarters.
(This article was compiled from The Asahi Shimbun and wire reports.)
Huge Earthquake Triggers Tsunami Off Japan’s Coast
By MARTIN FACKLER and KEVIN DREW
Published: March 11, 2011
TOKYO — A devastating tsunami hit the coast of northeast Japan on Friday in the aftermath of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake about 80 miles offshore, killing at least 23 people and injuring many more. The earthquake triggered widespread power blackouts, and countries across the Pacific Ocean, from Russia to South America and including Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States, braced for possible tsunami waves.
The Lede Blog: Video of the Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan (March 11, 2011)
Times Topic: Tidal Waves and Tsunamis
Kyodo News, via Associated Press
NHK, via Associated Press
Kyodo News, via Reuters
Yomiuri, via Reuters
NHK, via Reuters TV
NHK TV, via Associated Press
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the disaster caused major damage across wide areas, The Associated Press reported. But he said there had been no leakage of radiation or radioactive material from nuclear facilities..
The United States Geological Survey said the earthquake had a magnitude of 8.9, and occurred at about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo and at a revised depth of about 17 miles, the American agency said. The Japanese Meteorological Agency said the quake had a magnitude of 8.8. News reports said it ranked among the biggest in a century.
Tsunami waves swept away houses and cars in northern Japan and pushed ships aground. Trains were shut down across central and northern Japan, including Tokyo, and air travel was severely disrupted. The government held an emergency session to coordinate response as the death toll rose to 23 in five prefectures, officials said. At least 30 people were injured in the cities of Tokyo and Osaka.
The quake, which the broadcaster NHK described as the worst on record in Japan, occurred at 2:46 p.m. Tokyo time and hit off Honshu, Japan’s most populous island. The quake was so powerful that buildings in central Tokyo, designed to withstand major earthquakes, swayed.
“This tremor was unlike any I’ve experienced previously, and I’ve lived here for eight years. It was a sustained rolling that made it impossible to stand, almost like vertigo,” said Matt Alt, an American writer and translator living in Tokyo.
Television images showed waves of more than 12 feet roaring inland. The tsunami drew a line of white fury across the ocean, heading toward the shoreline. Cars and trucks were still moving on highways as the water rushed toward them.
The floodwaters, thick with floating debris shoved inland, pushed aside heavy trucks as if they were toys, in some places carrying blazing buildings toward factories, fields, highways, bridges and homes. The spectacle was all the more remarkable for being carried live on television, even as the waves engulfed flat farmland that offered no resistance.
The force of the waves washed away cars on coastal roads and crashed into buildings along the shore. Television footage showed a tsunami wave bearing down on the Japanese coastline near the community of Sendai.
NHK television transmitted aerial images of columns of flame rising from an oil refinery and flood waters engulfing Sendai airport, where survivors clustered on the roof of the airport building. The runway was partially submerged. The refinery fire sent a plume of thick black smoke from blazing spherical storage tanks. A television commentator called the blaze an “inferno.”
The images showed survivors in a home surrounded by water, waving white sheets from the upper floors of buildings. News reports said the earthquake had forced the Tokyo subways to empty while airports were closed and many residents took to the streets, desperately trying to leave the city.
Initial television coverage from coastal areas showed very few people actually in the water. The initial impact of the wave seemed to have been enormous, tipping two huge cargo vessels on their sides at one port and tearing others from their moorings.
Smaller vessels, including what looked like commercial fishing trawlers, were carried inland, smashing into the superstructure of bridges as the waters surged. A senior Japanese official said foreign countries had offered to help and Japan was prepared to seek overseas assistance.
Japanese television showed major tsunami damage in northern Japan. Public broadcaster NHK reported that a large ship swept away by the tsunami rammed directly into a breakwater in Kesennuma city in Miyagi prefecture. Video footage also showed buildings on fire in the Odaiba district of Tokyo, The Associated Press reported.
“It just seemed to go on and on,” Katherine Wallace told the BBC, who was in an office building in Tokyo, said of the quake tremor.
A second major earthquake of 7.4 magnitude was reported as aftershocks shook the region. Japanese media reported mobile phone networks were not working.
Power blackouts were affecting about 2 million residents around Tokyo alone, the government said. Cell phone service was severely affected across central and northern Japan as residents rushed to call friends and relatives as aftershocks struck.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center extended a tsunami warning across most of the Pacific Ocean, and said the tsunami would threaten coastal areas of Russia, Taiwan, Hawaii, Indonesia, the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Australia later in the day. The agency, based in Hawaii, added the west coasts of the United States, Mexico, Central America and South America to the list of countries that given tsunami alerts.
The tsunami warning was later expanded to include much of Alaska, all of the California coast north from Santa Barbara, and Oregon. The rest of Southern California, Washington and British Columbia were under an advisory, the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said. A warning means that people in low-lying areas should evacuate due to the threat of flooding; an advisory cautions that the tsunami could cause dangerous currents and waves but that major flooding is not expected. The center said that initial tsunami waves could hit Homer, Alaska, about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, shortly after 4 a.m. local time GMT, and that waves could hit California and Oregon about an hour later, or about 7 a.m. local time.
In Honolulu, a tsunami watch was upgraded to a tsunami warning at about 9:30 pm local time, with the wave, if it materialized, forecast to arrive in the Hawaiian islands at 2:59 a.m. The tsunami warning sirens were briefly sounded. In the Waikiki district, lines formed at gas stations.
Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry said that the tsunami had reached the Russian-controlled Kurile Islands north of Hokkaido, Japan at about 6 p.m. local time. “The tsunami has reached three population centers in the Kurile Island chain. The average height of the wave has been recorded at less than one meter. There have been no casualties or damage,” the ministry said in a statement. In response to the tsunami threat, about 11,000 people have been evacuated from four population centers in the Kuriles, the ministry said.
The quake occurred in what is called a subduction zone, where one of the Earth’s tectonic plates is sliding beneath another. In this case, the Pacific plate is sliding beneath the North American at a rate of about 3 inches a year. The earthquake occurred at a depth of about 15 miles, which while relatively shallow by global standards is about normal for quakes in this zone, said Emily So, an engineer with the United States Geological Survey in Golden, Colo.
Ms. So said that according to her agency’s calculations, the quake was of magnitude 8.9. It had been preceded by what seismologists call foreshocks — smaller quakes in the same area. The largest of these was a magnitude 7.2 quake two days before, centered about 25 miles south of the spot where the earthquake struck Friday.
In a subduction quake that occurs underwater, as this one did, the sudden movement of a portion of one of the plates can displace enormous amounts of water, triggering a tsunami. As the tsunami waves approach shallow coastal areas, they tend to increase in height.
The devastation often comes from a succession of waves, with the first few being relatively small. The waves can propagate across oceans at speeds of 500 miles an hour or greater. With Friday’s quake occurring only about 80 miles offshore, people in the closest coastal areas would not have had much time to evacuate.
Speaking on CNN, Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, said residents in Hawaii and the West Coast should prepare for coastal flooding. He said there was a “full coastal evacuation” underway in Hawaii. He said that gauges at Midway Island in the Pacific were registering a wave amplitude of about 5 feet, but that that might increase by the time the waves reached Hawaii. Even a 5-foot wave can be devastating, he said, because of the nature of tsunami waves. “There’s a tremendous amount of water” in them, he said. Mr. Fryer said that concerns that the waves might wash over entire low-lying islands in the Pacific were unfounded. “Washing over islands is not going to happen,” he said.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, was briefed on the disaster during a trip to Brussels. Geoffrey Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said there were no reports of damage to American military facilities or naval vessels.
At the headquarters of the Navy’s Seventh Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan, sailors were preparing for a potential tsunami. “We’ve issued instructions to our pierside ships in Yokosuka to stand by their lines to be prepared to quickly adjust them as necessary to prevent damage during any resulting tsunami,” said Cmdr. Jeff Davis, the Seventh Fleet spokesman.
It was unclear on Friday morning to what extent the American military in the Pacific was preparing to help with disaster response.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong and the Straits Times in Singapore slumped after news of the quake, ending about 1.6 percent and 1 percent down, respectively.