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The 2011 Japan Tsunami

On 11th March 2011, a 9.0- magnitude earthquake off Japan's north-eastern coast generated a huge wave which, breaking on the shore, devastated everything in its path. Three altimetry satellites (Jason-1, Envisat and Jason-2) observed the front wave over the Pacific Ocean between 5 and 22 hours after the earthquake. Envisat detected the first wave front 5 hours and 25 min after the earthquake with a trough-to-crest amplitude of more to 30 cm. Jason-1 measured a larger amplitude (>60 cm), 7 hours and 30 min after the earthquake.

Top: Ground tracks Jason-1 pass #147, at 7:30 hours after the quake (left) and Envisat pass #419 at 5:25 hours after the quake (right), overlaid by a wave propagation simulation at the time of the satellite's passage.
Bottom: Model tsunami (black lines) with the satellite altimetry data along the passes, respectively, Jason-1 (left, in red) and Envisat (right, in pink). Credits T.Y Song (2012, Geoph.Research Lett.).

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