The 2011 Japan Tsunami Was Caused By Largest Fault Slip Ever Recorded
Clay lubricated the fault zone in the Japan trench, producing the devastating tsunami, researchers say.
Two years ago, the sea off the coast of Japan reared up and swept away tens of thousands of lives in a devastating natural disaster.
The 2011 earthquake has been the subject of intense study ever since, and the trench that produced it is the best studied in the world. (See "Japan Tsunami: 20 Unforgettable Pictures.")
Now, three papers published today in the journal Science reveal the magnitude 9 earthquake off the east coast of Japan still has the capacity to surprise.
Experts calculate the fault—or the boundary between two tectonic plates—in the Japan trench slipped by as much as 164 feet (50 meters). Other similarly large magnitude earthquakes, including the 9.1 Sumatra event in 2004, resulted