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Quake Shifted Japan; Towns Now Flood at High Tide
The March 11 earthquake that hit eastern Japan was so powerful it pulled the entire country out and down into the sea. The mostly devastated coastal communities now face regular flooding, because of their lower elevation and damage to sea walls from the massive tsunamis triggered by the quake.
In port cities such as Onagawa and Kesennuma, the tide flows in and out among crumpled homes and warehouses along now uninhabited streets.
A cluster of neighborhoods in Ishinomaki city is rare in that it escaped tsunami damage through fortuitous geography. So, many residents still live in their homes, and they now face a daily trial: The area floods at high tide, and the normally sleepy streets turn frantic as residents rush home before the water rises too high.
"We thought this slippage would happen gradually, bit by bit. We didn't expect it to happen all at once," says Testuro Imakiire, a researcher at Japan's Geospatial Information Authority, the government body in charge of mapping and surveys.
Imakiire says the quake was powerful enough to move the entire country, the first time this has been recorded since measurements began in the late 19th century. In Tokyo, 210 miles (340 kilometers) from Ishinomaki, parts of the city moved 9 inches (24 centimeters) seaward.
The drop lower was most pronounced around Ishinomaki, the area closest to the epicenter. The effects are apparent: Manholes, supported by underground piping, jut out of streets that fell around them. Telephone poles sank even farther, leaving wires at head height.
* The Great Lakes will empty into the Gulf of Mexico.
* Los Angeles and San Francisco will disappear as land along the west coast of America breaks up.
* Japan will sink into the sea.
* The upper portion of Europe will be changed instantaneously.
* New land will appear off the East coast of America.
* Following increased volcanic activity, earthquake activity will increase in California as well as the area between the south of Nevada and Salt Lake.
* Land disturbances along the East Coast will cause the disappearance of part of New York State and New York City. Part of the Carolinas and Georgia will also be lost