Posted on 07/06/2011

Photo taken on June 18, 2011

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Tsunami Heights Markers, Taro, Iwate 田老 岩手

Tsunami Heights Markers, Taro, Iwate 田老 岩手
Both the 1933 (lower) and 1896 (upper) markers had the writing worn off by the gravel and debris carried in the 2011 tsunami. It was hard to judge, but it looked like there was flotsam from the tsunami above the entire wall, as well as a flipped over car. All the concrete power poles were snapped although some clung to their spot via rebar.

Estimates now give Taro the dubious distinction of experiencing the highest wave in the 11 March 2011 tsunami, at 37.9 meters (124.3'), as estimated by the Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo who figured the height by measuring the height of floated logs and pools of salt water on the hillsides, 200 meters from the coastline. The 1896 tsunami was higher in Ofunato, farther down the coast, at 38.2m (125.3'). With an historical tsunami record such as this, I think I'd build on the top of a cliff away from any harbor, use a cable car to get to the port, and forget the walls, as they block the view of the next arriving tsunami.

This height measurement is called the "runup," and is not the height of the wave coming into the port, but the high point as the water's momentum carries it up the hillside.

This wall as viewed before the tsunami on a class field trip in 2005 (UK and Iwate-dai):

30 May 2012: There were abalone shells embedded in the dirt above this wall, which were carried from an abalone raising business at the harbor entrance, so the 2011 tsunami at least ran up over the entire wall.