23.6-meter-high tsunami triggered by March 11 quake: survey
TOKYO, March 23, Kyodo
A tsunami wave that hit a coastal city in Iwate Prefecture after the March 11 massive earthquake is estimated to have reached 23.6 meters in height, a government-commissioned field survey by the Port and Airport Research Institute showed Wednesday.
The tsunami wave measured in the city of Ofunato was lower than the domestic record of 38.2 meters marked in the 1896 Meiji Sanriku Earthquake Tsunami, and 34.9 meters logged in the wake of the 2004 earthquake off the Indonesian coast of Sumatra.
However, Kazuhiko Toda, a researcher at the institute, said the height of the March 11 tsunami was marked under the condition where breakwaters and other counter-tsunami facilities have been set up, so it may have been greater in power than the one in 1896.
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, tsunami waves higher than 2 meters can destroy timber houses. Concrete buildings can withstand tsunami up to 4 meters or so, but would also be destroyed if it exceeds 16 meters.