Monster earthquake off of Japanese coast: 8.9, Tsunami strikes, massive damage, thousands of deaths likely

Tsunami warnings for US west coast, Hawaii, Alaska - click for official NOAA map

UPDATE:  00:00 PST 3/13/11 Japanese Met Agency has upgraded the magnitude of the quake to 9.0 — up from 8.8, their previous estimate.

UPDATE: 14:20 PST 3/11/11 Additional graphs and data added to end of post h/t Eco Tretas

UPDATE: 4:05 am PST Tsunami Warning continues for much of the US Pacific Coast and British Columbia.

UPDATE: Compared to quakes since 1900, this appears to be the sixth largest on record, see table added below from USGS data.

Tsunami Warning for the entire Pacific basin coastline including California, impact at 7:42 -8:15 AM local time e.g. San Francisco.

UPDATE:  One of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded.  Hawaii under Tsunami Warning. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Updates / Warning Website Link.  Aftershocks continuing.  Tsunami Watch issued for California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Canada…

UPDATE: Here’s a screencap from live streaming from Japan via news helicopter showing the Tsunami as it strike s the north coast:

UPDATE: NHK TV in Japan reports Tsunami hit. Massive damage, reports below.

8.9 quake at Friday, March 11, 2011 at 05:46:00 UTC.  Preliminary estimate was 7.9 and was upgraded to 8.8, now 8.9. Current details from USGS.  Tsunami warning issued.

We’ll have more on this as it develops.

If you know of webcams in the area in Japan, leave a comment.

(AP) – JAPAN’S METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY NOW WARNS THAT A TSUNAMI AS HIGH AS 20 FEET (6 METERS) COULD STRIKE THE COAST NEAR MIYAGI PREFECTURE, CLOSEST TO THE EPICENTER.

WEHW40 PHEB 110557

TSUHWX

HIZ001>003-005>009-012>014-016>021-023>026-110757-

/O.NEW.PHEB.TS.A.0001.110311T0557Z-000000T0000Z/

BULLETIN

TSUNAMI MESSAGE NUMBER   1

NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI

756 PM HST THU MAR 10 2011

TO - CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII

SUBJECT - TSUNAMI WATCH

A TSUNAMI WATCH IS ISSUED FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII EFFECTIVE AT

0756 PM HST.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

   ORIGIN TIME - 0746 PM HST 10 MAR 2011

   COORDINATES - 38.0 NORTH  142.9 EAST

   LOCATION    - NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU  JAPAN

   MAGNITUDE   - 7.9  MOMENT

EVALUATION

 BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A TSUNAMI MAY HAVE BEEN GENERATED BY

 THIS EARTHQUAKE THAT COULD BE DESTRUCTIVE ON COASTAL AREAS EVEN

 FAR FROM THE EPICENTER. AN INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY TO DETERMINE

 IF THERE IS A TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII.

 IF TSUNAMI WAVES IMPACT HAWAII THE ESTIMATED EARLIEST ARRIVAL OF

 THE FIRST TSUNAMI WAVE IS

                     0259 AM HST FRI 11 MAR 2011

MESSAGES WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER AS CONDITIONS WARRANT.

From Fox News :

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and U.S. state of Hawaii.

The quake struck at 2:46 p.m. at a depth of 10 kilometers, about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the meteorological agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.

In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.

From CBS News:

Japanese television showed video of serious damage caused by a tsunami along the nation’s northern coast. Public broadcaster NHK showed cars, trucks, houses and buildings being swept away by the tsunami in Onahama city, Fukushima prefecture.

A tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and U.S. state of Hawaii.

There were reports that evacuations were underway along the Russian coast.

===================================================================

Rank        Location Date Magnitude2
1. Chile May 22, 1960 9.5
2. Prince William Sound, Alaska March 28, 19643 9.2
3. Andreanof Islands, Aleutian Islands March 9, 1957 9.1
4. Kamchatka Nov. 4, 1952 9.0
5. Off western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia Dec. 26, 2004 9.0
6. Off the coast of Ecuador Jan. 31, 1906 8.8
7. Offshore Maule, Chile Feb. 27, 2010 8.8
8. Rat Islands, Aleutian Islands Feb. 4, 1965 8.7
9. Northern Sumatra, Indonesia March 28, 2005 8.7
10. India-China border Aug. 15, 1950 8.6
1. In terms of magnitude.
2. Moment magnitude.
3. March 28, 03:36:14 UT (March 27, 5:36 P.M. local time)
Source: National Earthquake Information Center, U.S. Geological Survey.
[Updated  Data Graphs added 14:20 PST 3/11/11]
Hawaii
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dp

Best wishes to our friends in the Sendai bay region. As tsunamis go it is the perfect storm configuration.

james

The usgs shows it as mag 8.8! Wow. What is local time?

Pete H

Wait for the “Moon at its Perigee” disaster comments in the MSN!

Kath

Tsunami advisory web site at the Japan Meteorological Agency:
http://www.jma.go.jp/en/tsunami/
Tsunami Warning/Advisory
Issued at 14:49 JST 11 Mar 2011
******************Headline******************
Major Tsunami and Tsunami have been issued.
PACIFIC COAST OF TOHOKU
CENTRAL PART OF PACIFIC COAST OF HOKKAIDO
IBARAKI PREF.
KUJUKURI AND SOTOBO AREA, CHIBA PREF.
IZU ISLANDS
Evacuate from the seashore immediately to the safe places near the above coasts.
Tsunami attentions are in effect at some of the other coasts now.

Grumpy Old Man

Ryan. Can you tell us what time zone you are in?
Pacific — both Anthony and I live in california

wes george

(note that the worse earthquake ever recorded was 9.6 in chile, 1960, and #2 was a 9.2 in Anchorage Alaska in 1964. # 3 Sumatra in 2004 was a 9.1.)
So 7.9 is significant and its epicenter is underwater.
Anyone you love in Hawaii tonight?
BULLETIN
TSUNAMI MESSAGE NUMBER 1
NWS PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER EWA BEACH HI
756 PM HST THU MAR 10 2011
TO – CIVIL DEFENSE IN THE STATE OF HAWAII
SUBJECT – TSUNAMI WATCH
A TSUNAMI WATCH IS ISSUED FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII EFFECTIVE AT
0756 PM HST.
AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS
ORIGIN TIME – 0746 PM HST 10 MAR 2011
COORDINATES – 38.0 NORTH 142.9 EAST
LOCATION – NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU JAPAN
MAGNITUDE – 7.9 MOMENT
EVALUATION
BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA A TSUNAMI MAY HAVE BEEN GENERATED BY
THIS EARTHQUAKE THAT COULD BE DESTRUCTIVE ON COASTAL AREAS EVEN
FAR FROM THE EPICENTER. AN INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY TO DETERMINE
IF THERE IS A TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII.
IF TSUNAMI WAVES IMPACT HAWAII THE ESTIMATED EARLIEST ARRIVAL OF
THE FIRST TSUNAMI WAVE IS
0259 AM HST FRI 11 MAR 2011
MESSAGES WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER AS CONDITIONS WARRANT.
http://www.weather.gov/ptwc/text.php…1.03.11.055747
http://www.weather.gov/ptwc/?region=…1.03.11.055747

Keith Minto

Report from the SMH 6 minutes ago…….
Japan tsunami warning follows 7.9 earthquake
March 11, 2011 – 5:34PM
Japan has issued its top tsunami warning in response to a major offshore earthquake measuring 7.9, which strongly swayed buildings 400 kilometres away in Tokyo and sent people fleeing onto the streets.
The meteorological agency issued its top-level evacuation alerts for the entire Japanese coast, Russia and the Mariana Islands, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said.
It warned of a tsunami of up to six metres. Smaller tsunamis of up to 50cm reached some coastal communities, the agency said.
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The quake struck about 382km northeast of Tokyo, offshore, the US Geological Survey reported.
Smoke could be seen rising from a building in Tokyo port.
Shinkansen bullet trains stopped when the quake struck.
Japan’s meteorological agency said the quake struck at 2.46pm (4.46pm AEDST) local time at a depth of 10km, 125km off the eastern coast.
Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday.
The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no tsunami threat to Australia.

Hawaii is on Tsunami alert.

a jones

Oh dear God.
Massive and deadly.
We can but wait and see.
And we are told mankind can control the climate. Dream on.
Kindest Regards

Why wait several people have been predicting it coming for months now. General increased tectonic and quake activity on the Pacific Rim, clear down to New Zealand.

Keith Minto

Link to the Hawaii alert.

Jimmy Haigh

The first reports on the USGS site were of a 7.9 quake. That would have been bad enough. 8.8 is a monster. It reminds me of the Indian Ocean quake off Sumatra in 2004 – it kept getting revised upwards over first few hours. Local time of the quake was 14:45hrs.

Stephan

There is no doubt in my mind now that the tectonic activity eruptions volcanoes in last 2-3 years due to solar minimum activity

Anything is possible

Pete H says:
March 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm
Wait for the “Moon at its Perigee” disaster comments in the MSN!
_____________________________________________________________
Not to mention Jupiter……
Let’s all hope the tsunami doesn’t manifest, and everybody stays safe.

Michael

Watching CNBC World with some pretty good coverage.
Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes in diverse places, monetary system about to collapse. Sounds like a story I once read.

Yes, I’d seen those quakes on the USGS emails I get and wondered about if they were foreshocks.
Notes:
The 2004 Sumatran 9.2 quake did NOT have foreshocks and was initially reported as an 8.5.
The 1923 Yokohama-Tokyo quake – the Great Kanto Quake -was a 7.9 and was the worst of the 20th century in terms of damage (IMHO).
Expect plenty of aftershocks in the 5+ range.
With a deep ocean trench only 60 miles east, some slippage could certainly have occurred, or be about to occur. This would be a serious tsunami risk for the entire northern Pacific, especially. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.

Ray

I think it is the third one in as many days now.

Here is a Link to the Japanese station NHK’s English language world broagcast via the internet:
http://wwitv.com/tv_channels/6810.htm

wes george

Well, it’s official we have a tsunami.
I called friends in Auckland to let them know, even though they aren’t in the threat zone officialyl listed in tsunami alert 2. They hadn’t heard a thing about it.
Might not hurt to call love ones along pacific coast about now. You know, just to say hi.
http://www.weather.gov/ptwc/text.php?id=pacific.2011.03.11.064306

Les Francis

On shore Mag 6.8 only 67ks away from Tokyo. Quake is under a built up area.
depth is 30km.
Expect some damage here.
Tsunamis can travel across the Pacific to the eastern coast of the U.S.

Sylvan

Catastrophic tsunami ongoing in Sendai/Miyagi area. Streaming video at jibtv.com – awesome and horrific.

Pete H

Wow, lots of waves coming in!

I am so glad it was 380 km from Tokyo. A close earthquake of 8.8 power would crunch even state-of-the-art buildings.

Keith Minto

I am on a slow connection as others may be, and cannot stream video, here is an up- date with static images 10 minutes old from the SMH, again.
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/tsunami-surges-across-japan-following-89-earthquake-20110311-1bqym.html

venu

can any one tell me if chiba is affectd??

Patrick

I live in the dead center of the island of Oahu, so while I’m safe from the waves here (about 700 feet above sea level), depending on the level of damage we could lose power, utilities and communications. Last time, we were lucky. I’ve got a bad feeling about this one though.

tokyoboy

Even in Tokyo at 4:50 pm local time now, almost all the public transport lines are halted.
Damages including several fires appear to have happened.
Report of casualty is still limited to one person, but may be increasing.
How can I get home this evening?…….

Daniel H

I was sitting in my apartment here in Tokyo when it happened. It started out small and became gradually larger to the point where I decided to drop everything and run outside. Lots of buildings were swaying and people were screaming. Very scary…. the 7-11 had broken booze bottles littering the floor and it smelled like a mixed cocktail from hell.
The aftershocks have been non-stop and keep coming. There is one happening as I type this. It feels like one of those old “magic fingers” bed.

helicopter video of tsunami carrying debris, autos, inland

tokyoboy
John Whitman

I just tried for 10 minutes to phone our offices in Tokyo and Fukushima area on the coast. I cannot get through to them.
Will keep trying and let you know what I find.
I am neart the northern coast of Taiwan, so will look for news on Taiwan TV of potential Tsunami here.
Best of wishes to all my dear friends in Japan, especially those at the coastal area of Fukushima prefecture.
John

Warren

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10711642
Earthquake hit Southern China an hour beforehand as well

more tsunami video

Pete H

Refinery fires. One airport shown totally under water with people safe on the roof. One sequence shows a wave coming in and with houses, cars trucks etc being swept inlane. More after shows being reported as I watch on BBC

Byz

I hope all people around the pacific rim can get away from the coast.
There are reports of waves 10 metres high.
All the best to anyone reading this blog who will be effected in the next 24 hours, we’ll keep you in are prayers 🙁
As I’m typing sirens are going off in hawaii 🙁

tokyoboy
Be careful tokyoboy, i’m praying for you

Les Francis

Tsunami warnings issued for Chile, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
I wouldn’t be surprised if one is issued for US [West] coast shortly.
Damage is massive. Reports of Tsunamis up to 7.3 metres on land.

John Whitman

tokyoboy says:
March 10, 2011 at 11:51 pm
Even in Tokyo at 4:50 pm local time now, almost all the public transport lines are halted.
Damages including several fires appear to have happened.
Report of casualty is still limited to one person, but may be increasing.
How can I get home this evening?…….

– – – – – –
tokyoboy,
Hope all is well with you and your family and friends.
Are the local landline phones and cellphones working in Tokyo area? I have not been able to reach Fukushima Prefecture nor Tokyo from where I am in Taiwan.
Best Wishes,
John

Al Gored

Simply mind boggling helicopter shots of these waves, and how they pushed inshore. When carrying loads of debris it looked like lava, and sometimes there were burning buidlings being carried on top of it. Totally surreal. Horrendous destruction of obviously meticulously kept farms and greenhouses and lives. Real tragedy for the people there. And who knows what else has happened, or will happen.
Anyone know what time this buoy system will know if there are serious waves headed to Hawaii or the West Coast?

Les Francis

Supermoon?

low quality, but raw footage of tsunami, unbelievable

R John

Not sure if it is related, but my internet connection just flaked out for about 5 minutes.

GAUGE LOCATION LAT LON TIME AMPL PER
DART 21413 30.5N 152.1E 0659Z 0.76M / 2.5FT 32MIN
HANASAKI HOKKAIDO J 43.3N 145.6E 0657Z 2.79M / 9.2FT 76MIN
DART 21401 42.6N 152.6E 0643Z 0.67M / 2.2FT 40MIN
DART 21418 38.7N 148.7E 0619Z 1.08M / 3.5FT 06MIN
http://www.weather.gov/ptwc/text.php?id=hawaii.2011.03.11.073148

tokyoboy

John Whitman says: March 11, 2011 at 12:03 am
[……] Are the local landline phones and cellphones working in Tokyo area?[….]
Until about 30 minutes ago both landline and cell phones were not working and I was unable to call my wife;
It’s OK now at least in the Metropolitan area where I am.

R John says:
March 11, 2011 at 12:07 am
Not sure if it is related, but my internet connection just flaked out for about 5 minutes.
—————————————————————————————-
That’s funny, mine did too,

One of the most noticeable things from the helicopter videos, is the amount of sea water caught behind sea walls that were way to short, to stop the tsunami but did a real good job of preventing the sea water return to the Pacific, leaving a set depth of flooding equal to the height of the sea walls.

tokyoboy

Aftershocks, strong and weak, still attack the Tokyo area, and I feel ike seasickness at my desk.

Volt Aire

The tsunamis look even worse than the 2004 ones from those vids 🙁 This sucks beyond description, hope casualty rates will not go into tens or hundreds of thousands.
Sad sad day.