Flooding from Tsunami near Sendai, Japan
acquired March 12, 2011 download large image (9 MB, JPEG, 6276x7280)
acquired March 12, 2011 download GeoTIFF file (60 MB, TIFF, 6276x7280)
Flooding from Tsunami near Sendai, Japan
acquired February 26, 2011 download large image (15 MB, JPEG, 6276x7280)
acquired February 26, 2011 download GeoTIFF file (78 MB, TIFF, 6276x7280)
acquired February 26 - March 12, 2011 download Google Earth file (KMZ)

NASA’s Terra satellite’s first view of northeastern Japan in the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami reveal extensive flooding along the coast. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) acquired the top image of the Sendai region on March 12, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. The lower image, taken by Terra MODIS on February 26, 2011, is provided as a point of reference.

Water is black or dark blue in these images. It is difficult to see the coastline in the March 12 image, but a thin green line outlines the shore. This green line is higher-elevation land that is above water, presumably preventing the flood of water from returning to the sea. The flood indicator on the lower image illustrates how far inland the flood extends.

Both images were made with infrared and visible light, a combination that increases the contrast between muddy water and land. Plant-covered land is green, while snow-covered land is pale blue. Clouds are white and pale blue. The paved surfaces in the city of Sendai colors it brown.

MODIS detected a fire burning near the shore north of Sendai. The fire is marked with a red box. It is also surrounded by floods.

The photo-like true-color image acquired a few hours later shows plumes of sediment washed into the ocean along the coast and a dark plume of smoke near Sendai. Both images are from the MODIS Rapid Response System, which provides twice-daily images of Japan.

Editor’s note: The MODIS image taken on March 13, after this image was published, provides a cloud-free view of the tsunami flooding in northeastern Japan.

NASA images courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

Instrument(s): 
Terra - MODIS

Flooding from Tsunami near Sendai, Japan

March 13, 2011
Image Location
Image Location
More Images of the Day
Left
Milan at Night Earthquake and Tsunami near Sendai, Japan
Right
More in this Event (view all)
Left
Earthquake and Tsunami near Sendai, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami near Sendai, Japan Flooding from Tsunami near Sendai, Japan Tsunami flooding near Sendai, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami near Sendai, Japan Tsunami Damage near Ishinomaki, Japan Tsunami Damage Viewed for the Space Station Flooded Coast near Sendai Flooding along the Kitakami River, Japan Tsunami Damage, Rikuzentakata Tohoku Earthquake Shaking Intensity Earthquake and Tsunami near Sendai, Japan Electricity Losses in Northeastern Japan Tsunami Floods Linger near Sendai, Japan Earthquake and Tsunami near Sendai, Japan Antarctic Icebergs Chipped off by Japan Tsunami Closeup of Tsunami Damage, Rikuzentakata The Seafloor Focuses and Merges Tsunami Waves Wreckage and Recovery in Ishinomaki, Japan Effects of the Tohoku Tsunami on the Kitakami River
Right