Japanese researchers have spent the past few months surveying Tsunami damage at 5,300 coastal locations. This information has created the largest Tsunami survey dataset in the world and the first map to visualize the crushing impact of the wave.
In the above damage map, the blue coloring shows how far the destructive wave traveled inward and the colored bars show how high the wave was when it made landfall. It's amazing to see the variation in the strength of the wave. That area in the center - that's Sendai Plain which was struck by a wave 19.5 meters high and traveled over 5 km inland.
This information can't be used to predict when or if a Tsunami will hit, but it will help researchers isolate those areas whose geological characteristics increase the intensity of a Tsunami. That's a good thing to know as Japan rebuilds and repopulates its coastal area. [Geophysical Research Letters via NewScientist]