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Japanese tsunami: amazing video footage

  • BY Carolyn Barry |
  • March 14, 2011

No other tsunami in history has been captured in such detail and in such quality.

THE TSUNAMI THAT DEVASTATED Japan on Friday afternoon, local time, was significant for several reasons. For one, it's the second largest tsunami on record, after the 2004 Boxing Day Indonesian tsunami that killed 240,000 people.

Second, it's the best-documented ever. Unlike the Boxing Day tsunami, which was recorded only from grainy, hand-held mobile and camcorder footage, the Japanese tsunami was captured by a professional media in a helicopter.

Above is some of the raw footage of from the Japanese media helicopter. It shows more of the tsunami waves before they hit land. Tsunami waves have never really been captured on video like this before. Mostly, it's because there are few massive tsunamis in populated areas. But it's also because they often catch people unawares. Not all earthquakes generate tsunamis - even large earthquakes - and it's not until they near land that the waves are evident.

The ABC has also published some Google satellite maps that overlay the post-tsunami devastation onto photos taken before the disaster. The visual perspective of this is quite astounding. On one level, you can see the scale of the catastrophic inundation; but the scale also makes it hard to comprehend the human impact.

As can be seen in the video at top, (Japanese footage replayed on Sky News and on The Australian website), the monster tsunami wave train is clearly seen. What look like normal waves that would make Kelly Slater excited, are actually about 10 m high and have enough energy to break at least a kilometre out, and continue about 2 km inland.

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