Northeastern Japan has just been hit by a powerful tsunami after a massive earthquake that struck the coast of Japan at the depth of about 17 miles below the earth's surface. According to Japanese officials, the earthquake which created dozens of aftershocks was considered as the most powerful earthquake in 140 years. The deadly tsunami and earthquake have killed over 10,000 people and continues to cause heavy casualties across the country. According to U.S. Geological Survey, the disaster in Japan was caused by sudden movement of the Pacific tectonic plate under the North American plate. Let’s have a look at the photos below to know how the earthquake and tsunami formed in Japan.
Japan stands on the west tip of the North American plate. The massive earthquake and a tsunami happened when the Pacific tectonic plate suddenly moved and thrust under this North American plate.
In an area called the Japan Trench, the Pacific plate often moves westward over eight centimeters each year.
The earthquake was caused by the powerful movement of the Pacific plate. This movement forced the North American plate upward.
The upward movement of the American plate has created a large mounts of energy which pushed upward a huge mounts of ocean water, from that a strong tsunami was formed to strike Japan.
In the deep ocean, the wave lengths are very long and the heights are low. These waves can move at the speech of over 500 miles an hour.
When the tsunami approaches the land, the shallower water makes the wave become higher. These waves are pushed inland by a large amount of water and energy which has been built up behind them.
The wave height reached over 10 meters along the coast of Japan and tsunami warnings were informed as far as the west coast of United State and South America.