Multimedia Collection

Japan's Killer Quake

60 min
QE537.2 .J37 J37 2011 DVD

In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a rising death toll in the tens of thousands, massive destruction of homes and businesses, shortages of water and power, and the specter of nuclear meltdown at three reactors. The facts and figures are astonishing. The March 11, 2011, earthquake was the world's fourth largest earthquake since record keeping began in 1900 and the worst ever to shake Japan. The seismic shock wave released over 4,000 times the energy of the largest nuclear test ever conducted; it shifted the earth's axis by six inches and shortened the day by a few millionths of a second. The subsequent tsunami slammed Japan's coast with 30-foot-high waves that traveled six miles inland, obliterating entire towns in a matter of minutes.

With gripping stories from tsunami survivors, compelling day-to-day reportage, and in-depth science perspective, Japan's Killer Quake also explores the risk of a comparable disaster on the U.S. west coast, where earthquake preparedness is nowhere near as advanced as in Japan. What can be done to anticipate the worst? Or it is simply impractical to design ahead for the kind of extremely rare and unlikely combination of deadly factors that came together on March 11th?

NOVA production. Corey Johnson, narrator.

Distributed by PBS Home Video.

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