Earthquake in Japan: A wave of destruction
Friday's massive earthquake triggered a powerful tsunami that devastated the coastline north of Tokyo.
Aftershocks continued for hours after the massive quake, some as strong as 7.1 magnitude.
The earthquake triggered a 23-foot tsunami that devastated the northeast coast
of the country, leaving at least 1,000 dead and many more missing.
Quake and tsunami videos
Watch earthquake and tsunami
footage from across Japan »
Video: Kesennuma, Miyagi
Video: Minami Sanriku
Video: Aoba-ku, Sendai
Video: Sendai airport
Video: Ageo, Saitama
Video: Matsudo City, Chiba
Video: Shinjuku, Tokyo
Video: Suginami, Tokyo
Video: Koto Ward
Video: Tokyo Tower
Video: Chiba Prefecture
Video: Odawara Civic Hall, Kanagawa
*Per square kilometer. SOURCE: U.S. Geological Survey, Japanese National Police Agency.
GRAPHIC: Kat Downs, Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso, Laris Karklis, Mark Luckie, Alicia Parlapiano, Gene Thorp and Karen Yourish - The Washington Post. Updated March 29, 2011
Anatomy of the earthquake
As huge tectonic plates in the earth's surface constantly grind against each other, jagged edges often lock together until pressure builds enough to jar them apart. On Friday, a chunk of the Pacific plate, which normally creeps westward under Japan at about three inches per year, practically leaped forward — up to 59 feet, according to USGS modeling. This quick jolt thrust undersea land upward, causing the earthquake and tsunami.
GRAPHIC: Patterson Clark and Bonnie Berkowitz - The Washington Post. Published March 11, 2011.
Japan's nuclear emergency
Damage at nuclear plants made leaking radiation the primary threat facing a country just beginning to grasp the scale of devastation from the earthquake and tsunami.
Recent quakes in Japan
Japan is one of the most active seismic areas in the world. More than a thousand earthquakes of 4.0 magnitude or greater have struck in and around the country since 2009.
More Earthquake coverage
- PHOTOS: Quake rocks Tokyo
- VIDEO: "Pure chaos"
- Quake, tsunami kill hundreds
- Japan: The 'Big One' hit, but not where they thought it would
- Global stocks down after quake
- LIVE BLOG: Japanese earthquake and tsunami
- Tracking the tsunami's path
- How big was the quake?
- Nuclear reactor in peril
- Send in your quake stories
- Japan's earthquake-proof buildings