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Record 16-meter tsunami hit Minami-sanriku

Record 16-meter tsunami hit Minami-sanriku

Scientists say a record 16-meter tsunami hit a coastal town in Miyagi Prefecture on March 11th.

Researchers at the Port and Airport Research Institute released the finding after inspecting buildings in Minami-sanriku Town, which was devastated by the massive earthquake and tsunami.

They determined that tsunami as high as 12 to 14 meters hit hospitals and the town hall in the center of the town.

A 4-story public apartment building in the coastal area was almost completely inundated, suggesting that tsunami up to 16 meters reached the building.

The waves were about 4 times as high as those that hit the region in 1960 following a powerful earthquake in Chile.

The researchers estimate that tsunami with a maximum power of 40 tons per square meter destroyed concrete pillars and walls in the coastal area.

A chief researcher at the institute, Taro Arikawa, says that he believes tsunami directly hit the town's coastline, which is open to the fault that caused the quake.

Arikawa added that tsunami could have been amplified in the bay where the seabed becomes much shallower toward the coast.

He stressed the need to review measures to protect concrete buildings, which were thought to be highly resistant to tsunami.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 08:53 +0900 (JST)

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