Satellite Photos of Sendai, Japan Before and After the Tsunami

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Japan_after.jpg

It's almost impossible to grasp the scale of the tsunami that slammed into Japan yesterday following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast near Sendai. The quake was a global-scale event, shifting the axis of the entire earth by four inches.

These satellite photos may help you grasp just how much water moved from the ocean onto land. Comparing the image from after the quake above with an image shot February 26 below, you can see how the coastline got erased by the displaced water.

If you click on the photos, you can see the very high-resolution photos that NASA's Terra Satellite captured.

Japan_before.jpg


Images: NASA.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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