Nova: Japan's Killer Quake
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Nova: Japan's Killer Quake

Wednesday, February 27 at 9:00 p.m.

In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a 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 11, 2011 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 more than 4,000 times the energy of the largest nuclear test ever conducted; it shifted the earth's axis by six 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 six 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.

Pictured above: A tugboat, swept 500 meters inland.
At right: Another boat swept ashore by the tsunami.


  • Nova: Japan's Killer Quake