(The image shows destruction from a less powerful earthquake, a magnitude-5.9 temblor that struck Virginia on Aug. 23, 2011; shaking from the quake could be felt as far away as New York City, Toronto and other eastern cities.)
Moment of Impact: Kalutara, Sri Lanka
The U.S. Geological Survey estimated in 2005 that the death toll from the earthquake and tsunami reached 275,950 people.
Killer Waves Approaching
Water Flows through the streets of Sri Lanka
Rubble in Sichuan
Refuge from destruction
Haiti is hit
Collapse in Haiti
Chilean buildings stand and fall
Huge Chilean Earthquake Raised Country's Coast
Boat washed inland
The 8.9-magnitude (which may have been upgraded to a 9.0) earthquake that struck Japan triggered tsunamis across the region. Here, results from a computer model run by the Center for Tsunami Research at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory show the expected wave heights of the tsunami as it travels across the Pacific basin.
The largest wave heights are expected near the earthquake epicenter, off the coast of Sendai, Honshu, Japan. The wave will decrease in height as it travels across the deep Pacific but grow taller as it nears coastal areas. In general, as the energy of the wave decreases with distance, the near-shore heights will also decrease. For example, coastal Hawaii will not expect heights of that encountered in coastal Japan, according to NOAA.