11 amazing facts about the Japan earthquake and tsunami.




#1

The earthquake shifted Earth on its axis of rotation by redistributing mass, like putting a dent in a spinning top. The temblor also shortened the length of a day by about a microsecond.


#2

More than 5,000 aftershocks hit Japan in the year after the earthquake, the largest a magnitude 7.9.


#3

About 250 miles (400 km) of Japan's northern Honshu coastline dropped by 2 feet (0.6 meters), according to the U.S. Geological Survey.


#4

The jolt moved Japan's main island of Honshu eastward by 8 feet (2.4 meters).


#5

The Pacific Plate slid westward near the epicenter by 79 feet (24 m).


#6

In Antarctica, the seismic waves from the earthquake sped up the Whillans Ice Stream, jolting it by about 1.5 feet (0.5 meters).


#7

The tsunami broke icebergs off the Sulzberger Ice Shelf in Antarctica.


#8

As the tsunami crossed the Pacific Ocean, a 5-foot high (1.5 m) high wave killed more than 110,000 nesting seabirds at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.


#9

In Norway, water in fjords pointing toward Japan sloshed back and forth as seismic waves from the earthquake raced through.


#10

The earthquake produced a low-frequency rumble called infra sound, which traveled into space and was detected by the Goce satellite.


#11

Buildings destroyed by the tsunami released thousands of tons of ozone-destroying chemicals and greenhouse gases into the air.

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