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Amazing Things Happened in the 2011 Japan Earthquake

Amazing Things Happened in the 2011 Japan Earthquake

It has been more than two years since an incredibly devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan.  On March 11, 2011, this quake rattled the seismically active country, setting off a massively destructive tsunami that wreaked havoc (especially on the eastern shores of Japan) all the way across the Pacific Ocean.  We have all seen the astounding media shots of this earth-shattering event.  It was the fourth biggest quake on the history of our planet and undeniably the largest earthquake in the recorded history of Japan.

The impact of the earthquake was not restricted only to the islands of Japan and its effects were not just restricted to the violent shaking of the earth and the setting off of some larger than normal ocean waves.  The earthquake’s energy reached around the globe to Antarctica and high into the Earth’s atmosphere.  It is hard to imagine, but this particular seismic event even changed the pull of Earth’s gravity field.

The following is a review of some of the extraordinary impacts that the 2011 earthquake and tsunami had on our planet Earth:

Smaller quakes triggered

As we already know from recorded videos and first-hand descriptions of the experience, this massive earthquake triggered incredible rocking and rolling in Japan; it also brought about seismic tremors and smaller earthquakes all around the globe, mostly in those places already known for their seismic activity.  Thankfully, the seismic activity set off in these additional events were of much smaller magnitude.  Many places across the planet were impacted, including Taiwan, and much of the west coast of North America.

Antarctic iceberg broken

The earthquake and its resulting tsunami were so powerful that many giant icebergs were broken off the Sulzberger Ice Shelf in Antarctica.  Gigantic waves moved away from the earthquake’s epicenter off the coast of Japan toward the ice shelf in Antarctica, 8,000 miles away; amazingly, approximately 18 hours after the earthquake occurred, those enormous and powerful waves broke off several huge chunks of ice.  Satellite images were captured, showing a number of new icebergs floating away right after the sea swell of the tsunami reached Antarctica.

Antarctic ice stream increased speed

Thousands of miles away from Japan, the seismic waves of this earthquake temporarily quickened the movement of the Whillans glacier.  The glaciers in Antarctica slowly flow from inland areas out to the sea.  Thanks to GPS stations located on the ice, the quickened pace of this particular glacier was easily detected.

Seafloor cracks

This earthquake occurred off the coast of Japan, below the sea floor.  The force of the quake was so powerful that it split open parts of the ocean floor, pushing some large sections upward to create the tsunami.

Gravity altered

The earthquake was so powerful that it actually altered the pull of gravity under the area affected by the quake.  Scientists were able to use satellites to analyze the area’s gravity field before and after the earthquake.  This particular earthquake slightly thinned the earth’s crust which resulted in a minor drop in the area’s gravity field.

Atmosphere ripples

This earthquake was so forceful that it not only shook the earth, it shook the atmosphere as well.  Research prior to the 2011 earthquake had indicated that the surface motions and tsunamis that earthquakes produce can also trigger waves in the atmosphere.  Information was collected during the Japan earthquake showing that it sent multiple ripples in electrically charged particles nearly 220 miles above the Earth’s surface.

Shortened Earth’s day

An analysis conducted just days after the earthquake struck found that this massive earthquake increased the speed of the Earth’s spin, causing the length of our 24 hour day to shorten by 1.8 microseconds.  The planet’s rotation speed increased because the earthquake shifted the distribution of Earth’s mass.

A mega powerful earthquake is predicted to occur sometime in the next 25 to 30 years in California and many believe that it is long overdue; experts have determined that it is most likely going to strike along the southern end of the San Andreas Fault, fairly close to Los Angeles.  When “THE BIG ONE” occurs, our planet may well experience more of the same amazing activity that occurred during and after the 2011 Japan earthquake.  Unfortunately, for residences and businesses located in the state of California, predictions show that such a powerful earthquake could be expected to completely destroy more than 1,500 buildings, damage another 300,000 and sever pipelines, highways, power lines, railroads, and vital communications networks.  Experts are predicting property losses of more than $200 billion.

If you are a commercial property owner anywhere in California, now is the time to make plans to strengthen your building – before a devastating earthquake takes your building down.  Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit specializes in the repair, retrofitting, and reconstruction of commercial buildings in the Los Angeles area.  If you would like more information on how to get an inspection and estimate for seismic retrofitting or how to secure the non-structural elements of a building before the next strong earthquake occurs, call the professional team at Saunders Commercial Seismic Retrofit today!


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(949) 646-0034

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