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'The scale is almost double that estimated only from the terrestrial data,' Dr Sato told BBC News. Under the seabed, the movement may have been even greater - perhaps 160 to 200 feet, by some estimates. In another study sure to raise alarm in Japan, scientists from the California Institute of Technology have reconstructed how the Tohuku-Oki earthquake unfolded using GPS data recorded at more than 1,200 sites. Their data showed that - contrary to previous opinion - the area had built up massive amounts of strain prior to the earthquake.