Japan’s March 11 Earthquake Almost Shook the Space: Study
Abandoned housing sites remain empty after being swept by tsunami in Sendai, March 12, 2011. REUTERS

Vibrations from the devastating earthquake that hit Japan in March 2011, which triggered a massive tsunami, had almost reached the outer space, a new study has revealed.

According to the atmosphere-vibrations study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the vibrations from Japan quake and tsunami waves traveled towards upper atmosphere, the ionosphere, where they were amplified to thousands of times their original sizes, the National Geographic News reported.

The velocity and the magnitude of the atmospheric disturbance have not yet been revealed but March 11 earthquake and the following tsunami caused the biggest such phenomenon ever, researchers said.

Such a trend has also been observed during other massive earthquakes in the world.

On December 26, 2004, the 9.3 magnitude Sumatra earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean had excited “giant” disturbances in the ionosphere, according to the journal’s report in 2006.

Two giant ionospheric disturbances were observed in Taiwan. The first disturbance resulted in vertical ionospheric fluctuations with a maximum velocity of about 70 meters per second. The second disturbance, propagating at a horizontal speed of over 300 meters per second, was caused due to coupling of the atmospheric gravity waves with the tsunami waves, the journal had revealed in its report.

On March 11, 2011, a 9 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Western Pacific Ocean off Japan’s Honshu Island that caused a massive tsunami. According to Japanese National Police Agency, more than 15,000 people were killed while over 5,000 victims are still missing.

The tsunami waves also destroyed Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)'s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, dubbed the worst nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986 in North Ukraine.