This is the fourth part in a series about aerial photography and the built environment. If you missed part one, click here, part two, click here, or part three, click here.
So I know I said last week's post would be the final one in this series, but the events over the weekend in Japan have mandated an emergency post of sorts. If you are reading this than you are probably someone predisposed to seeking out and consuming relevant news, so (I'm hoping) you've heard that last Friday a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami that decimated much of Japan's eastern coastline. If you don't know what I'm talking about, climb out from under that rock you've been living under and grab a copy of a major newspaper. Or just keep reading.
At 8.9 on the Richter scale, the quake was one of the largest in recorded history. It could be felt in Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter, where large buildings swayed like flowers in a gentle breeze.
The wave itself reached heights of up to 33 feet and wreaked havoc on the low-lying coastland, sending houses, cars, people, and whatever else lay in its path miles inland. If you've been following the coverage, chances are you've seen videos of the surging water already, but in case you haven't behold its terrifying power.
This destruction has also been well documented using satellite imagery, snapshots which give a comprehensive look at the massive scale of this disaster. Entire neighborhoods and towns disappear. Fields become lakes. Civilization is reminded of its fragility.
The New York Times has put together a remarkable interactive piece which lets you scan over the same aerial shot before and after the wave passed through. I strongly encourage you to take a look at it here.