The magnitude of the disaster in Japan is hard to grasp, the images are searing.
Not only is this one of the most powerful disasters it is certain to be the most documented. With so many cameras rolling during those moments. Only now are some of the most jaw-dropping images coming out.
To see that water, the reactions of people just out of its reach helps us to understand the unbridled force of nature.
What strikes you over and over again is how quickly. Within seconds the force swelled from just a splash in the street to a torrent more terrifying than you can imagine. Crashing at the barriers and a runaway freight train of dark water with as much violence.
Shots by amateur photographers showed the quake as it happened.
At Narita airport the shaking starts slowly. People stop. Then it becomes much more intense. Soon after in Miyako, a tsunami rolls in on a massive black wave, swallowing the sea wall and everything with it.
The tsunami takes on crushing power in moments. Roaring into towns. Finally, blasting through the streets like a waterfall without boundaries. The place itself becomes part of it.
Mangled, uprooted, a watery wasteland. You see it up close. that rush growing and growing until the person holding the camera also has to run to higher ground.
Just watching, hearing the strange new landscape dissolving below. Above it, many are stranded and here, from barely enough distance you see the muddy wave march in and just overtake it -- all of it. The town that was.
These pictures are hard to watch. You hear people say, that is unbelievable, but that is the power of nature.
It has to be believable to us, especially since we, as humans are drawn to live by the millions along the edges of oceans and fault lines.
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