NASA satellite sees area affected by Japan tsunami

Mar 16, 2011 By Alan Buis
A new before-and-after image pair from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft shows a region of Japan's northeastern coast, northeast of the city of Sendai, affected by the March 11, 2011, tsunami. The image at the left is from March 14, 2011; the right-hand image is from August 2008. Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS

A new before-and-after image pair from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA's Terra spacecraft shows a region of Japan's northeastern coast, northeast of the city of Sendai, which was affected by the March 11, 2011 tsunami.

The images show the coastal cities of Ofunato and Kesennuma, located about 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of Sendai. Ofunato has a population of about 42,000, while the population of Kesennuma is about 73,000. Areas covered by vegetation are shown in red, while cities and unvegetated areas are shown in shades of blue-gray. The image on the left was acquired on March 14, 2011; the image on the right was acquired in August 2008. When compared closely, vegetation is no longer visible in many in the new image, particularly around Kesennuma. Scientists believe this is most likely due to the effects of the .

The images show an area located at 39.4 degrees north latitude, 141.9 degrees east longitude, and cover an area of 28 by 46 kilometers (17 by 27 miles).

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