TOP 1: Great East Japan Earthquake
Date: March 11, 2011
Casualties: 15,000 People
In the last 100 years, many tragic videos have been captured showing the world’s natural disasters. Few clips have compared to videos taken from the 2004 Indian Ocean and the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami mega disasters. On March 11, 2011, an undersea megathrust earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan. It was the most powerful known earthquake to have ever hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes since modern record-keeping began, in 1900. The earthquake triggered a collection of extremely destructive tsunami waves, up to 38 meters (124 ft). In some cases, the water traveled up to 10 km (6 mi) inland.
In addition to loss of life and destruction of infrastructure, the tsunami caused a number of nuclear accidents, of which, by far, the most serious was an ongoing level 7 event, and 20 km (12 mi) evacuation zone around the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. The plant was protected by a seawall designed to withstand a 5.7 m (19 ft) tsunami, but not the 14 m (46 ft) maximum wave which arrived 41–60 minutes after the earthquake. The overall cost of the quake could exceed $300 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster on record. The Japanese National Police Agency has confirmed approximately 15,000 deaths.
The earthquake moved Honshu 2.4 m (7.9 ft) east, and shifted the Earth on its axis by almost 10 cm (3.9 in). The Bank of Japan offered 15 trillion yen (US$183 billion) to the banking system on March 14, in an effort to normalize market conditions. It is unusual for an earthquake to exceed the magnitude of 8.5. The 9.0 mark of this quake has surprised many seismologists. Sadly, over 100,000 children were uprooted from their homes during the disaster, some of whom were separated from their families because the earthquake occurred during the school day. Many videos have emerged showing the destruction. I have selected a clip that shows a collection of large ocean waves overpowering a Japanese city.