Yesterday's magnitude 9.0 earthquake east of Sendai, Japan triggered tsunamis which quickly innundated many coastal areas of Japan and caused tsunami watches to be issues all around the Pacific Ocean. News reports soon after the earthquake included video of an airport being flooded (updated video). The early reports didn't identify the airport, at least not in English, but using the epicenter initially reported by the USGS (38.322°N 142.369°E, subsequently revised to 38.297°N 142.373°E) and searching for nearby airports with 2800-meter runways suggested Sendai as the airport, confirmed by following the Google Maps satellite link on the airport page for Sendai and comparing the imagery with the video. (Later news reports also confirmed that the airport was Sendai.)
Today's Featured Map shows the 13 airports with 2800-meter or longer runways within 500 nautical miles of the earthquake's epicenter. Also shown are 10-, 20-, and 30-minute times for tsunami impact based on the 600 mile per hour (970 km/hr) speed of a tsunami in open water. The power of a tsunami as revealed by the videos is incredible; hopefully the casualties from this disaster are fewer than the videos suggest.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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