Next Japanese Tsunami: More Than Twice as High

A 9.0 earthquake could trigger 112-foot tsunami
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2012 6:00 PM CDT
Next Japanese Tsunami: More Than Twice as High
In this March 11, 2011 file photo, waves of a tsunami hit residences after a powerful earthquake in Natori, Miyagi prefecture, Japan.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File)

Much of Japan's Pacific coast could be inundated by a tsunami more than 115 feet high if a powerful earthquake hits offshore, according to revised estimates by a government panel. The panel of experts says any tsunami unleashed by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake in the Nankai trough, which runs east of Japan's main island of Honshu to the southern island of Kyushu, could top 115 feet at its highest. An earlier forecast in 2003 put the potential maximum height of such a tsunami at less than 66 feet.

Last March's magnitude-9.0 earthquake spawned a 45-foot wave that devastated most of Japan's northeastern coast and triggered meltdowns at a nuclear power plant. The revised tsunami projections, contained in a report released yesterday and posted on a government website, are based on new research following last March's magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami, which devastated a long stretch of Japan's northeastern coast and killed about 19,000 people. (More Japan earthquake stories.)

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