2011 Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami – Resource Post

The 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami negatively impacted many Japanese in various ways. These impacts ranged from destruction of property by waves, disruption of daily life, and even death. However, the specific effects I would like to focus on for this post were/are those caused by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. These effects include displacement from their homes, and exposure to radiation. This nuclear power station was located directly on the coast, and was protected from waves by seawalls. The 2011 Tohoku Tsunami overcame these walls, and flooded the basement levels of the power station. Emergency cooling equipment was located in these basement level, and was rendered inoperable by the flooding. This resulted in overheating and subsequent steam explosions at three of the six reactors on site. These explosions breached the walls of the reactors, releasing radioactive materials into the air. Radiated water has also leaked from the plant, into the groundwater, as well as ocean.

1)      The following link is a Japan Times article discussing the negative effects of the nuclear disaster on evacuees, especially the elderly. It highlights the fact that three years after the disaster, more people in the Fukushima area have died from stress(and related illness) than from the actual incident in 2011. I thought that this article captured the ongoing negative effects of such an event well.


2)      The disaster at Fukushima Daiichai has resulted in an incredible amount of information, and perhaps even more misinformation being posted on the internet. The following link attempts to separate out the facts, and provides links to many articles (both accurate and inaccurate) in the process. I highly recommend checking this resource out, and seeing where it takes you.


3)      The following link is to a brief interview with a radiation expert about some of the potential effects of the Fukushima disaster. It was published shortly after the incident occurred, and provides clarification about radiation risks, and monitoring into the future.


4)      This final link is to a video created by film students in Germany, illustrating the effect of such a disaster on the younger generations of Japanese, in an artistic way. It is definitely worth a watch.


My favorite resource is definitely #2 as it discusses and links a number of different sources. It is important, because it attempts to sort out fact from fiction concerning the Fukushima Daiichai accident. The only concerning thing is that the post comes off a little biased against some of the things that it discredits. However, as long as the author is discrediting scientific inaccuracies (as seems to be the case), it is a helpful bias.





3 thoughts on “2011 Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami – Resource Post”

  1. After creating my post, I read through some of Lars’s sources, documenting the 1868 Arica Earthquake and Tsunami. From the Geonet post I learned that New Zealand was also effected by waves coming from the South American coast. The tsunami took 15 hours to reach New Zealand, and altered sea level for a number of days. This is a reminder that tsunamis can cause widespread damage, over a relatively long time period. From the USC: Tsunami Research Group, I learned that the death toll from this event was an incredible 70,000+ people! These 19th century buildings were no match for the powerful waves. Clearly, our improved awareness of these earthquake caused tsunamis, and superior building construction saved many lives in 2011, versus 1868. Especially when considering the incredible population density of modern Japan, putting many more people at risk. Despite these improvements, thousands still lost their lives during the 2011 Tohoku event. There is still much more work to do to mitigate these hazards nearly 150 years later.

  2. I thought that your first link about stress-related deaths was very interesting. Especially in areas that minimize injury and death during a disaster, there still may be injury and death caused by that event. For example, in Christchurch at least 8000 homes were “red zoned” and the population has fell by about 10,000 people. Even though those individuals are alive and physically unharmed, there is a real effect from the earthquake. Perhaps, as immediate responses to hazardous events improve, disaster planners should begin thinking about the aftermath, and how to minimize negative impacts.

  3. I had similar thoughts that Patrick did about the first link Sam posted. I wouldn’t have thought to research how tsunamis could be leading to deaths long after the event itself. I am curious if that sort thing took place in my event but doubt I will be able to find anything about it.

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