(WASHINGTON) — The massive earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Japan in March was a disaster of global proportions, but now there’s a new demonstration of just how global it was.
Three scientists examined satellite images from Antarctica, 8,000 miles south of the epicenter, and found that 18 hours after the quake, the resulting tsunami was enough to break giant chunks off the Sulzberger Ice Shelf — chunks that together would be twice the size of Manhattan.The earthquake on March 11 was one of the most violent since record keeping began. It had a magnitude of 9.0, so powerful that the main Japanese island of Honshu was reported to have shifted 8 feet to the east. At least 15,600 people died in the quake and killer waves it caused, and another 5,700 were injured. There were small reverberations in the ionosphere above, and the crisis continues to have ramifications for Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.The find was reported by Kelly Brunt of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, along with Emile Okal at Northwestern University and Douglas MacAyeal at the University of Chicago. They have published a paper in the current edition of the Journal of Glaciology, and NASA says it “marks the first direct observation of such a connection between tsunamis and icebergs.”