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Must See Doc: How the Japanese Tsunami Happened

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 2, 2011 at 8:23AM

This smart C4 documentary explores what happened--talking to scientists and collecting reportage--during the 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan and the subsequent devastating tsunami. Posted by Film Detail, which collects some mind-boggling facts (below).
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This smart C4 documentary explores what happened--talking to scientists and collecting reportage--during the 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan and the subsequent devastating tsunami. Posted by Film Detail, which collects some mind-boggling facts (below).


It was the most powerful known earthquake ever to hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful in the world since modern records began in 1900.
The amount of energy released by the earthquake was 2 million times that unleashed by the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945
The earthquake shifted the Earth on its axis by almost 10 cm (3.9 in).
The cost of the disaster could reach $309 billion, making it the world’s most expensive natural disaster.
The earthquake triggered tsunami waves of up to 97ft (29.6m)
The waves struck inland minutes after the quake and some travelled up to 6 miles (10 km) inland.
So far the official death toll is 11,828 and 15,540 people are still missing
Over 125,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed.
Japan suffered extensive structural damage with roads, railways and dams affected
Around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water.
Many electrical generators went down, and at least three nuclear reactors suffered explosions due after cooling system failures.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said: “In the 65 years after the end of World War II, this is the toughest and the most difficult crisis for Japan.”

This article is related to: Genres, Video, TV, Documentaries


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.