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 reactor meltdowns. The facts and figures are astonishing. The March 11th 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 6 inches and shortened the day by a few millionths of a second. The tsunami slammed Japan’s coast with 30 feet-high waves that traveled 6 miles inland, obliterating entire towns in a matter of minutes. Japan’s Killer Quake combines authoritative on-the-spot reporting, personal stories of tragedy and survival, compelling eyewitness videos, explanatory graphics and exclusive helicopter footage for a unique look at the science behind the catastrophe.
Here is a brief preview of the episode:
Nova: Japan’s Killer Quake airs March 30 at 9pm on WGBY.
We hope this is a valuable teaching resource as you help your students make sense of this crisis.