The NASA Earth Observatory just released these two satellite images showing the view from space of the Japanese coastline around the city of Sendai. This, as I am sure you know, is the region that was hit on Friday by an offshore earthquake and subsequent tsunami. View some of the scenes which resulted here.
It is quite clear from these images the extent of the movement of water inland as a result of the tsunami. The ‘before’ image (click here for HighRes) clearly shows a clear, well defined coastline whereas the ‘after’ image (click here for HighRes) is less than clear and appears to have been inundated approximately 5km, according to the key provided on the images.
According to NASA’s Earth Observatory:
“Water is black or dark blue in these images. It is difficult to see the coastline in the March 12 image, but a thin green line outlines the shore. This green line is higher-elevation land that is above water, presumably preventing the flood of water from returning to the sea. The flood indicator on the lower image illustrates how far inland the flood extends.
Both images were made with infrared and visible light, a combination that increases the contrast between muddy water and land. Plant-covered land is green, while snow-covered land is pale blue. Clouds are white and pale blue. The paved surfaces in the city of Sendai colors it brown.”