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Expert: March tsunami traveled at 20km/h in Sendai

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Laaska News  May 25,2011

An expert says a tsunami triggered by the March 11th earthquake traveled at a speed of 20 kilometers an hour in the Sendai Plain, northeastern Japan, making it difficult for people to escape after they saw the wave.

Professor Fumihiko Imamura of the Tohoku University Disaster Control Research Center analyzed aerial footage of the tsunami filmed by NHK about one hour after the mega-quake.

Imamura says the tsunami traveled 260 meters in 46 seconds at a location in Sendai City, one kilometer from the coast. This means the wave was moving at a speed of 20 kilometers an hour in the area.

Imamura says that a tsunami flowing inland will slow gradually because of friction with the ground. But the March tsunami traveled much faster because of its enormous height, energy, and the amount of seawater. He adds that the Plain’s flat topography was another factor.

He also says the tsunami may have traveled faster than 20 kilometers per hour along paved roads and between buildings.

Imamura points out that even if people evacuate by car, a tsunami that flows straight from the coast would soon catch up with them.

NHK.

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