News & AnalysisJapan Disaster

Waves of Destruction

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Science  18 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6023, pp. 1376
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6023.1376

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Minutes after a powerful earthquake struck off the coast of Japan at 2:46 p.m. local time on 11 March, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings that were broadcast on TV and radio. Augmenting the warnings were local sirens and announcements. Still, most deaths and much destruction were the handiwork of the tsunami: Many victims knew the waves were coming but could not escape or didn't try until it was too late.

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