38-meter-high tsunami triggered by March 11 quake: survey

A tsunami that hit a coastal city in Iwate Prefecture after the March 11 massive earthquake is estimated to have reached 37.9 meters in height, a field survey by a researcher at the University of Tokyo showed Sunday.

The tsunami measured in the Taro district in the city of Miyako was higher than the domestic record of 38.2 meters marked in the city of Ofunato in the prefecture in the 1896 Meiji Sanriku Earthquake Tsunami, according to Yoshinobu Tsuji, associate professor at the Earthquake Research Institute at the university.
Tsuji and his team checked the drift displacement from a port in the district and found that lumber from the port had reached the slope of a mountain some 200 meters away from the coast.

Tsuji calculated the height of the tsunami from the points at which the lumber was found. The team also found fire engines and fishing boats washed away to the nearby points.

Tsuji's team also plans to thoroughly examine the area as there were some traces of water found at places higher than the 37.9-meter point, the researcher said.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, tsunami higher than 2 meters can destroy timber houses. Concrete buildings can withstand tsunami up to 4 meters or so, but would also be destroyed if waves exceed 16 meters.

see also USGS for more
Kyodo news

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