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[report整理] SENEWS-2011-03-21

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This is the VOA Special English Techonology Report.
A powerful earthquake struch the northeastern coast of Japan at two forty-six p.m. local time on March eleventh. Japan meterorogical agency released its first tsunami warnings just three minutes later. The country has one of the best earthquake early warning system in the world.
There are more than four thousand scence Intensidy Meters in place throught Japan to measure earthquake activity. These Meters provide information within two minutes of an earthquake happening. Information about the strength and center of the earthquake can be learned within three minutes.
There are also concreace seawalls around the much of the Japanese coastline. But these measures provided no match for the powerful earthquake and tsunami.
* is a tsunami expert with the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the United States of Suden California in Los Angeles.
*:"Japan is one of most well-prepared countries on earth in * tsunami warnings. They had a warning. I think what went wrong is that they had not anticipated the size of the event."
He says there are two reasons for this. Japan has not had any event anywhere near as big as this one in the last one hundred fifty years. And scientists had not experted such a large earthquake happening off the coast of Japan.
The nine point zero maganitude earthquake was the forth most powerful earthquake ever recorded worldwide. It was also the worst earthquake ever to hit Japan. The tsuanmi waves that followed were reported to have rearched as high as thirteen meters in some areas.
* says Japan concrete sea walls were not built to handle such high waves.
*:"The concrete seawalls in many places in Japan are about 10 meters, that's about 33 feet. In *, they were about three meter, that's about 10 feet. So that shows you that as least in that area they were not expecting such a * wave."
A tsunami wave can travel as fast as eight hundred kilometers per hour. To get to higher ground people would often have to travel for many kilometers. This can take more time than a fast traveling tsunami will permit. This is especially true in cases like Japan, where the center of earthquake struck so close to the coastline. The tsunami waves followed almost immediately.
Experts say early warning systems will continue to be limited by these facts until earthquake and tsunamis can be predicted.
And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. You can find more news about the disaster in Japan at our website, voaspecialenglish.com. You can also find transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports. And you can find us on Facebook and YouTube at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember.
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