Measured at 8.9M by the US Geological Survey, hit at 1446 local time (0546 GMT) at a depth of about 24km. A tsunami warning was extended across the Pacific to North and South America.
The main shock had been preceded by several major earthquakes the preceding week and many dozens of significant aftershocks as a very large volume of the earth’s upper crust moved. The tsunami disturbed the entire Pacific which “rang” for more than a day with all the energy imparted by the main tsunami. Intense damage to coastal areas such as Sendai occurred with thousands of people known dead and many thousands more missing.
Continued concern for infrastructure such as nuclear power plants and dams has made search and rescue even more challenging. Food, water, and power are in desperate need as rescue efforts continue on a major scale.