Offshore Japan 8.9 Earthquake Causes 23-Foot Tsunami

March 11, 2011

(ChattahBox World News) – A powerful 8.9 offshore earthquake, the largest in the country’s recorded history, hit Japan, sending a massive tsunami into the Pacific. A tsunami warning is in effect for the entire Pacific, including the U.S. West Cost, Canada, and Alaska, and South America.   The quake hit at 2:46 p.m. local time in Japan. Several waves, including one reported to have been 23 feet, slammed the eastern coast and sent boats, trucks, and burning buildings miles inland, slamming debris into overpasses, before receding. At least 60 people were killed and dozens more were injured, but the toll is expected to rise as they struggle to assess the damage.  At least 19 powerful aftershocks have struck the island country, reversing the path of rivers, washing away boats and cars and leaving buildings shaking.  Tokyo’s airports halted flights and trains were suspended.  Two of Japan’s nuclear power plants shut down automatically, and authorities report a fire in one plant’s turbine building. An oil refinery in Ichihara city caught fire, sending 100-foot flames into the air. The quake (8,000 times stronger than the one that hist New Zealand last month) was the biggest to hit Japan since record-keeping began in the late 1800s.

Update: The death toll has now risen to 300, as Japanese police say 200 to 300 bodies were found in Sendai, the closest major city to the epicenter.  Police also said that a ship carrying more than 100 people was washed away by a tsunami, and a bullet train carrying hundreds of passengers in the Miyagi region was missing.


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