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One year ago on March 11, a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Tohoku region of Japan, rattling the seismically active country and setting of a devastating tsunami that wreaked havoc on the Japanese coast and reached all the way across the Pacific Ocean.
But the effects of the quake weren't limited to Japan and they weren't confined to the shaking of the earth and the setting off of ocean waves. The earthquake's energy reached around the world to Antarctica and high into the Earth's atmosphere, even altering the local pull of Earth's gravity field. Here, OurAmazingPlanet reviews the strangest effects the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami had on our planet.
Seafloor cracksSlide 2 of 15
The earthquake ruptured off the coast of Japan, below the sea floor. The force of the quake ripped open parts of the ocean floor, and pushed some sections up (the mechanism that created the tsunami).
The cracks in the seafloor, seen and studied by manned submersibles, are around 3-to-6-feet (around 1-to-3-meters) across and some 10,500-to-17,500-feet (3,200-to-5,350-meters) below the ocean's surface.Slide 3 of 15
Smaller quakes triggeredSlide 4 of 15
Smaller quakes triggered
The massive earthquake didn't only trigger shaking in Japan, it also likely set off micro-quakes and tremors around the globe, mostly in places already known for their seismic activity. The shaking set off in these events likely didn't exceed magnitude 3.
The list of places affected included southwest Japan, Taiwan, the Aleutians and mainland Alaska, Vancouver Island in Canada, Washington state, Oregon, central California and the central United States.
Some of the quakes occurred in low-activity areas, such as central Nebraska, central Arkansas and near Beijing. Tremors were even detected in Cuba.
Scientists hope that linking these seismic events can help them better understand the inner workings of earthquakes.Slide 5 of 15
Antarctic ice stream sped upSlide 6 of 15
Antarctic ice stream sped up
Thousands of miles and a world away from Japan, the seismic waves of the Tohoku earthquake appeared to temporarily speed up the flow of the Whillans glacier. Glaciers are essentially rivers of ice that slowly flow, in the case of Antarctica, from the interior of the continent out to sea.
The faster pace of the Whillans glacier was detected by GPS stations located on the ice. Normally, the glacier slides only about 3 feet (1 meter) per day, but in a strong slip event, such as the one triggered by the earthquake, it can rapidly move about 1.5 feet (0.5 m).Slide 7 of 15
Antarctic iceberg brokenSlide 8 of 15