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Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011 Case study

Updated on December 30, 2013

MEDC Earthquake and Tsunami

This is a Geography case study for MEDC Earthquakes and Tsunami's.

This will be an easy to learn GCSE level case study for Geography. I'll include other resources to assist you in improving your knowledge and grades.

Bold Text = Important

Bold and Underlined Text = Super Important

The Basics

Where: Epicentre was 250 miles off the NE Coast of Honshu, Japan

Time: 2:46 pm, 11th March 2011

Scale: 9.0 Richter Scale

Death toll: 13,843 (18th April 2011) with 14,030 still missing


Japan Techtonics and plate boundaries
Japan Techtonics and plate boundaries

As you can see above, Japan sits just beside 2 big plate margins (depicted by the big blue lines). These are both destructive plate boundaries, and hence why Japan exists today.

The Pacific plate (PA) is always being pushed under the Eurasian plate, but this time it got stuck. The sticking was due to friction, and when released caused an earthquake. As the earthquake was at sea, the movement also caused a Tsunami to form, which ultimately caused the most damage in the disaster.

It's useful to be able to give a rough sketch of Japan and its plate boundaries if you are going to use this case study for the exam!

Primary Effects

Primary effects are the subsequent effects of the event:

Tsunami formed - 10m hightowns swept awayboats taken inland9.0 magnitude earthquake

Secondary effects

Secondary effects are additional/indirect actions of effects of the event:

Transport affected
  • Public buses stopped
  • Roads and public highways damaged
  • Bullet train stopped
Electricity, gas and water supplies damagedOver 100 5.0+ aftershocks felt afterwardsNuclear power station unstableFood and water supplies contaminatedinternational rescue teams & aid

Long term responses

Long term responses usually involve repairs and future plans after the event:

World bank predicts it'll cost US$232 billion and 5 years to completely rebuild the infrastructure damagedRoads, highways and public transport were restarted/reopened, and damaged highways were repaired within days (very fast!)Bullet train track repairedSupply, utilities and services were repairedAll nuclear reactors shut down to prevent disasters, and new forms of renewable energy are being explored - most notebly Geothermal power

The Important Stuff

11th March 2011

Pacific plate subducting under Eurasian plate

13,843 dead & 14,030 missing

Utilities & infrastructure damaged

Nuclear power plant unstable

Cost: US$232 billion to repair

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