5 Years Since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake

Five years ago a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Japan’s northeastern shore—the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan—generating enormous tsunami waves that spread across miles of shoreline, climbing as high as 130 feet (40 meters). The powerful inundation of seawater tore apart coastal towns and villages, carrying ships inland as thousands of homes were flattened, then washed tons of debris and vehicles back out to sea. Damage to the reactors at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant then caused a third disaster, contaminating a wide area that still forces nearly 100,000 residents to live as evacuees. The March 11 earthquake and subsequent disasters cost tens of billions of dollars, and nearly 16,000 lives.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • David Clapp / Getty

    New Mexico: Images of the Land of Enchantment

    A few glimpses of New Mexico’s landscape, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Pride Lights, Paddy Day, Grizzly Swim

    A new waterslide in the Czech Republic, a cat on the Algerian waterfront, a grotto reopening in Italy, burying a coronavirus victim in Russia, a wildfire in Colorado, and much more

  • Steve Helber / AP

    The Statues Brought Down Since the George Floyd Protests Began

    Images of some of the dozens of statues that have been toppled, defaced, or slated for removal across the U.S. over the past month

  • Shahid Ali / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Locust Swarms of 2020

    Images from hard-hit areas in Kenya, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Yemen, taken over recent months