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Image Gallery: This Millennium's Destructive Earthquakes

Chilean buildings stand and fall

Chilean earthquake

(Image credit: Walter Mooney, USGS)

These two buildings in the Chilean city of Concepcion attest to the difference construction can make. The apartment complex in the foreground broke from its foundation and toppled, breaking in half. The building in the background suffered no damage.

Huge Chilean Earthquake Raised Country's Coast

(Image credit: Science/AAAS)

Uplift of the ground is seen at the beach of Lebu. Uplift in this zone was about 71 inches (180 centimeters), which produced the uplift of a great marine platform.

Boat washed inland

Chilean earthquake

(Image credit: Walter Mooney, USGS)

The 8.8-magnitude Chilean quake generated a 4 to 5 meter (12 to 15 foot) tsunami in Concepcion Harbor.

Traveling Tsunami

Japan tsunami wave heights

(Image credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA))

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.

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Tsunami strikes Sendai, Japan, March 11, 2011.

(Image credit: NHK via AP)

Tsunami strikes Sendai, Japan, March 11, 2011.

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Earthquake strikes Japan, March 11, 2011.

(Image credit: NHK via AP)

Tsunami strikes Japan's coast, March 11, 2011.

Enormous Whirlpool

Whirlpool created by the earthquake off the coast of Japan, March 11, 2011.

(Image credit: Daily Telegraph )

Whirlpool created by the earthquake off the coast of Japan, March 11, 2011.