Seismologists are putting together some impressive computer models of the devastating earthquake that struck Japan Friday. As the tragedy continues to unfold, it’s pretty breathtaking to see the Earth’s destructive power in action.

The map above is a model of wave heights, generated at the Center for Tsunami Research at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Wave energy dissipates over longer distances, so Hawaii and the west coast didn’t see the devastating waves that inundated Japan already, but the scope is still incredible — the entire Pacific Ocean is impacted. Waves were lower in areas where the ocean floor is deeper.

The animation below shows the tsunami as it propagated from the earthquake’s epicenter, about 80 miles off the Japanese coast at a depth of around 15 miles. The ripples’ calm, slow spread belies their destructive force.

The death toll keeps rising, now said to be more than 1,000, according to news reports. USA Today has compiled this list of ways you can help.

Aftershocks are adding to the problems, with almost 100 reported as of 1 p.m. EST Friday.


The area has also experienced almost 100 aftershocks, many magnitude 5 or greater.