Space images show the devastation caused by the Japan earthquake

Destroyed and ruined buildings along the coast near Okay Japan.
Satellite image © 2024 Maxar Technologies

  • A powerful earthquake struck Japan on Monday, killing dozens and leaving thousands without power.
  • Satellite images show the devastation of hard-hit cities such as Suzu and Wajima.
  • You can see the devastation from space: overturned boats, destroyed buildings, giant cracks.

Satellite images showed the massive devastation inflicted on Japan's western coast and inland cities after a series of powerful earthquakes struck the country on Monday.

Before and after shots of homes along the coast near Ukai.
Satellite image © 2024 Maxar Technologies

The Japan Meteorological Agency reported 21 earthquakes measuring 4.0 or stronger struck central Japan in a period of just over an hour and a half. One of the quakes was estimated at 7.6 magnitude, according to the JMA.

Triggered event tsunami The warnings, which were eventually lifted. Waves of about 4 feet were seen in Wajima City and waves of about 3 feet in Kanazawa, according to reports. NHKJapan Public Broadcasting Corporation.

The earthquake left thousands without electricity. Rescue teams continue to search for those trapped under the rubble.

Before and after photos of burned and destroyed buildings in Wajima.
Satellite image © 2024 Maxar Technologies

In the town of Suzu, close to the epicenter, 90% of homes may have been destroyed, according to the city's mayor, Masuhiro Izumiya. Reuters reported.

“The situation is catastrophic,” he told Reuters.

Satellite image of Suzhou city showing capsized boats and damaged buildings.
Satellite image © 2024 Maxar Technologies.

The event was so powerful that the ground moved, rising more than 13 feet in some places and moving more than 3 feet in others. BBC reported.

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The change was enough that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's ALOS-2 spacecraft measured the shift and reported that its distance from Earth had shortened, according to the BBC.

The earthquake-damaged road is visible on the left while another giant crack is visible from the satellite image on the right.
Associated Press (left) / Satellite image © 2024 Maxar Technologies (right)

Monday's earthquake caused aftershocks – which continued until Wednesday – and have so far claimed at least 62 lives, according to the report. National broadcaster NHK. Rescue teams are still trying to save people Trapped Under the rubble.

Monday's tremor is being compared to Japan's 9.0-magnitude earthquake in 2011. However, that quake, which triggered a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima plant and killed 18,000 people, was devastating.It is more destructive.

Part of the reason Japan's death toll is so much lower than it was in 2011 – other than the dramatically reduced magnitude of this earthquake – is because of the system built around one of the most seismically active countries in the world, BBC reported. The country's emergency services are well prepared for earthquake rescues, buildings are constructed according to strict guidelines to withstand tremors, and earthquake alarms can give people up to 20 seconds' notice before the worst of the tremors begins.

By comparison, less prepared countries saw massive death tolls.

In Turkey and Syria, which were struck by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in February 2023, more than 50,000 people died.

With a strength of 6.8 degrees Earthquake In Morocco in September 2023, more than 2,900 people were killed and Affected 2.8 million people.

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A series of earthquakes in Afghanistan in October 2023, the highest measuring 6.3, killed 1,300 people and injured 1,700 others.

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