The earthquake was marked by a thrust-faulting focal mechanism which saw the subduction of the Nazca plate underneath the South American Tectonic Plates (USGS, 2010). For Haiti, the earthquake occurred at the northern boundary of the Caribbean tectonic plate which shifts eastwards per year in relation to the North American Plate (Amos, 2010). The depth of focus for the Japan earthquake was 32 kilometers, for the Haiti earthquake, it was 13 kilometers, and for the Chile earthquake, it was 35 kilometers.
The tsunami which followed the Japan earthquake caused a greater damage than the earthquake itself. The earthquake caused a 5-8 meter upthrust in a 180-km seabed offshore from the coast of Tohoku which then caused the tsunami which devastated Japan’s northern islands and the Pacific coastline (CNN Wire Staff, 2011). The tsunami extended across the Pacific with warnings issued to coastal towns. Chile, which was the furthest area from Japan still felt tsunami waves 2 meters high. In the Omoe peninsula, Miyako city, and the Iwate prefecture, tsunami waves were also felt (Yomiuri Shimbun, 2011).
The height of the tsunamis hitting Japan ranged from as low as three meters to as high as 13 meters, covering about 560 square kilometers of Japan, and the waves were seen an hour after the earthquake hit first in Sendai airport and in the rest of the northern coast of Japan following (CNN Wire Staff, 2011). A four meter tsunami would also hit the Iwate prefecture and the Wakabayashi Ward in Sendai. A major part of Kuji and Ofunato were destroyed and in Rikuzentakata, tsunami waves were reported at about three stories high (CNN Wire Staff). Damages in the cities of Kamaishi, Miyako, Yamada, Namie, Soma, Minamisoma, Shichigahama, among others were also reported. The most severe impact of the tsunami was felt along the coastline stretching from Erimo to Oarai with bridges washed out and a wide swath of general destruction (CNN