The past month has been anything but pleasant for the people of Japan. The Post’s Chico Harlan reported today that some 150,000 Japanese are still displaced. A 19-mile evacuation zone has been set up around the nucleus of the nuclear radiation zone, and nuclear contamination has been showing up in Japanese food. Aftershocks continue to roil the country. Washington Post reporters have been on the ground since the first quake hit. Harlan and others are still there. His reporting over the past month has captured much of the devastation. Here’s a snippet from his story about a Japanese town going through something called liquefaction:
Urayasu, the home of Tokyo Disneyland, resembles a town reflected in a funhouse hall of mirrors: severely warped streets and fences, tilted houses and police booths, sunken utility poles and pushed-up manhole covers resting on three-foot-high piles of dirt. At Disneyland, the parking lot rippled and buckled, a ride the 68,000 patrons at the park that day hadn’t counted on.
To the list of destructive forces that have wracked Japan — earthquake, tsunami, radiation from a crippled nuclear power plant — can be added liquefaction, a phenomenon that occurs when the earth’s violent shaking forces sand particles, once packed tightly, to shift apart and allow water to seep in.