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Debris from homes and businesses is strewn across streets in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
Australians are shocked after a boat filled with asylum seekers capsizes on its way from Indonesia, and at least eight people die. Houses are swept away in flames as the Natori River floods the surrounding area in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan, on March 11, 2011. A devastating earthquake hit Japan Friday afternoon, triggering a massive, 23-foot tsunami that swept away cars and houses. Japanese media reports that hundreds of people are dead or missing, citing information from local and national police. After disappointing results in the Mississippi and Alabama primaries this week, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich vowed that his campaign would continue. A giant wave tosses cars like toys, a yacht teeters atop a building, and a refinery burns in unforgettable pictures chosen by our editors. In 1 of 20 unforgettable pictures of Japan's tsunami aftermath chosen by National Geographic photo editors, rescue team members carry the body of a man through splintered remains of the village of Saito on Monday. A survivor walks his bicycle through the remains of the devastated Japanese town of Otsuchi on March 14.
A tsunami-tossed boat rests on top of a building amid a sea of debris in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, on March 14.
A mother tries to talk to her daughter, who has been isolated due to signs of radiation at a makeshift facility in Nihonmatsu, Japan, on March 14.
A tsunami wave crashes over a street in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture, in northeastern Japan on March 11.
Tsunami survivors embrace to celebrate being alive in the destroyed city of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 11. On March 13 rescue workers approachA Hiromitsu Shinkawa, a 60-year-old man from Japan's Minamisoma City who washed out to sea during the recent tsunami and spent days clinging to a piece of roofing. People search through debris at the Sendai airportA on March 14, days after an earthquake-triggered tsunami left the Japanese city in ruins.
Swaddled in blankets, evacuated tsunami survivors try to keep warm in a Japanese Red Cross hospital on March 13.
A lone vehicle passes a train overpass mangled by the recent earthquake in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on March 12.
A survivor of the recent Japan earthquake reads a list of other survivors in a shelter in Iwate Prefecture on March 13. An emergency worker throws disinfectant powder on the ground around earthquake-damaged buildingsA in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, on March 14. Coated with mud, a photo album lies amid debris in the earthquake-ravaged town of Natori, Japan, on March 14. A rescue worker surveys the devastation on March 14 in the Japanese village of Saito, which was leveled by the earthquake-triggered tsunami. A woman mourns the devastation of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, in northern Japan on March 13.
Flames and smoke billow from a petroleum-refining plant damaged by the Japan earthquake in Shiogama, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 13.

A boy walks past vehicles damaged by the Japan earthquake and tsunami in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, on March 13. Rescue workers search for Japan earthquake victims amid shattered houses in Nodamura, Iwate Prefecture, on March 14. The hand of a man killed by the Japan earthquake juts out of jumbled concrete sea barriers on March 14 in Toyoma, Japan. The biggest earthquake in Japan's history Friday sparked three-story tsunami waves, hundreds of casualties, and towering infernos.
Evacuees console one another in Tokyo's Shinjuku Central Park on March 11 after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake in Japan.
Although miles from the epicenter, Tokyo felt the effects of the earthquake and its aftershocks as buildings swayed, train cars rocked, and windows rattled, according to BBC News. The earthquake prompted officials to suspend Tokyo's rapid transit system, stranding many people in the city center, the BBC reported. People examine a house damaged by a collapsed roadway in Sukagawa City on March 11 after Japan's magnitude 8.9 earthquake.
Japan is part of the Pacific ring of fire, a geologically active region prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Tsunami waves created a whirlpool off the coast of Oarai in Japan's Ibaraki Prefecture on March 11 following the magnitude 8.9 earthquake. Tsunami waters engulfed croplands and towns and swept away houses, cars, and ships along Japan's east coast. People survey debris-filled waters on March 11 after tsunami waves engulfed coastal towns in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture.
Video footage from locations along Japan's east coast shows walls of water smashing ashore, often with large objects such as cars, boats, and even homes riding inland with the waves. In Sendai, the tsunami wave "was mixed with mud, with ships and cars smashing toward wooden houses, dragging those into rice fields, and basically bashing them into pieces," a Bloomberg TV reporter said from the scene, according to the Christian Science Monitor.
A column of flames towers over Ichihara, Japan, on March 11 after the magnitude 8.9 earthquake triggered a fire at a petrochemical plant.
Elsewhere, the Japanese government ordered thousands of residents in Onahama City to evacuate after a cooling system failure at a nuclear power plant, according to the Associated Press. No radiation leaks have been reported, but people were told to move at least two miles (three kilometers) away from the plant because the reactor core is still hot even after being shut down. A three-story tsunami obscures all but treetops as it roars into Natori, Japan, on Fridaya€”about the same height as the largest waves seen during the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands in late 2004. Tossed like toys, airplanes and automobiles litter debris piles at the airport in Sendai, Japan, after three-story waves struck the city on Friday. A groundbreaking study finds calcified hearts in ancient fish at least 113 million years old, the first whole fossil organs of their kind. As rhino poaching continues to climb, South Africa accepts recommendations to keep rhino horn trade illegal.
The earthquake occurred 140km off the coast of Honshu (the largest of the Japanese islands) in Japan.
Click here to see an excellent timed interval of the earthquake and the many aftershocks that occurred following the earthquake.

The earthquake occurred at 2.46pm which resulted in many lives being lost in the initial earthquake due to many office buildings being full as well as busy roads however a large number of lives were saved as it meant that many people were ready to act when the tsunami warning was heard.
Along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and South America, tsunami surges were reported, but in most places caused little or no damage.
3 months later these pictures from the Boston Globe showed the progress that was being made in the slow clean up.
This entry was posted by Chris Prettejohn on January 23, 2012 at 9:37 am, and is filed under Case Study, Natural Hazards, Physical Geography. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the most powerful quake to hit Japan since 1923, has caused widespread damage to the island nation, causing buildings to collapse, roadways to open up, and subways, trains and Narita airport to shut down.
Television news footage taken from helicopters shows the raging torrent of muddy water sweeping inland, submerging everything in its path, snapping power lines and uprooting trees, all while carrying with it the burning debris of destroyed houses.
National Weather Service issued tsunami warnings to more than 50 countries, including Russia, Indonesia, Chile and New Zealand, as well as Hawaii, which saw approximately 6-foot waves in the early morning hours but reported no significant damage. The town is just one of many nearly erased from Japan's northeastern coast, where water, electricity, and telecommunications are largely unavailable.As of Monday an estimated 350,000 people are reportedly homeless in the wake of Friday's magnitude 9 earthquakea€”Japan's biggest on record. The daughter is among people evacuated from the vicinity of Fukushima's damaged nuclear plants. Hundreds are dead, thousands are stranded, and a handful of ships and trains remain missing along the country's northeastern coast, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Residents and office workers poured out of buildings in Japan's capital city and gathered in open spaces. Still, Friday's powerful temblor caused widespread devastation on Japan's main island of Honshu.
The huge wavesa€”up to 33 feet (10 meters) high in placesa€”reached as far as about 6 miles (10 kilometers) inland in Miyagi Prefecture, CNN reported. Need to Know is made possible by Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Mutual of America, Citi Foundation, John D. For instance, a petrochemical plant in Sendai suffered a large explosion and an oil refinery caught on fire in Ichihara City, the BBC reports. The airport, like others in Japan, is closed as of Friday midday, eastern time.In general, travel to, from, and within Japan is highly compromised.
Tsunami warnings were quickly issued for many Pacific Coast regions, including Hawaii, the Philippines, and Mexico. Public transportation, including trains and subways are closed in the Tokyo area, and service has been interrupted in other areas.
While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so. The ceiling tiles came off and some things fell off shelves."(Related: Could Seattle suffer a similar earthquake?

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