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Earthquake and Tsunami near Sendai, Japan

Earthquake and Tsunami near Sendai, Japan

A heavy black plume of smoke streams southeast from Sendai, Japan, in this photo-like image from March 12, 2011. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired the image at 12:10 p.m. local time. Clouds prevented MODIS from identifying the location of the fire within the city, however this type of black smoke usually originates from oil or gas fires. According to news reports, a refinery in Sendai was on fire following the 8.9 earthquake that hit the region on March 11.

The earthquake generated a massive tsunami that devastated the coastal areas show in the image. Clouds of blue and green sediment in the ocean may be mud and other debris from the powerful waves. Images from earlier in the day show extensive flooding along the coast in the wake of the tsunami. Both images are from the MODIS Rapid Response System, which provides twice-daily images of Japan.

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

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