2021 Volume 130 Issue 2 Pages Cover02_01-Cover02_02
Photographs of the tsunami flooding the city and the nuclear power plant accident are shown as symbols of the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster, a huge and complex catastrophe.
Tsunami spilling over the embankment (top): The widespread and large-scale tsunami was an important cause of the disaster. According to a video analsis by the first explainer, the water level at the mouth of the Hei River in Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture fell about 1 m due to backwash, and part of the riverbed was visible 31 minutes after the earthquake. Subsequently, the leading wave of the tsunami traveled from Miyako Bay up the Hei River, gradually raising the water level. Thirty-seven minutes after the earthquake, the tsunami spilled over the 3.5 m-high embankment (crest height about 5 m (TP)) and started to inundate the urban area near the city hall. The tsunami continued to flow into the city and reached the highest water level of about 7 m (TP) at the embankment (photo middle) and about 6 m (TP) near the building (photo left), respectively, 42 minutes after the earthquake. (Photo by Miyako City on March 11, 2011)
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and surrounding area (bottom): The toxicity of radioactive materials released by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant persists. The disaster structure in Fukushima Prefecture differs from that in Iwate and other prefectures where the tsunami was the main cause of the disaster. Interim storage facilities are located a few kilometers from the power plant (photo top), and the area is off limits to the general public. Flexible container bags (black items, photo bottom) containing radioactive material brought from Fukushima Prefecture and sorting facilities (white buildings, photo middle) can be seen. The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum, which opened in September 2020, is located about 4 km north of the plant. (Photo by Masayuki Seto, taken on February 8, 2021 with a drone flying 124 meters above the museum)
(Explanation: Masaki IWAFUNE and Masayuki SETO)