Japan's Killer Quake: Preview

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Killer Landslides

Killer Landslides

NOVA

A look at what may have caused a massive landslide.

60 min.

Emperor's Ghost Army

Emperor's Ghost Army

NOVA

The terra-cotta army of Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang.

60 min.

Bigger Than T. rex

Bigger Than T. rex

NOVA

Follow the paleontologists who are reconstructing a terrifying carnivore dubbed Spinosaurus.

60 min.

First Air War

First Air War

NOVA

Uncover secrets of some colorful and deadly early flying machines and explore their role in WWI.

60 min.

Ben Franklin's Balloons

Ben Franklin's Balloons

NOVA

Watch the re-creation of an 18th-century hot air balloon, using period tools and materials.

60 min.

Surviving Ebola

Surviving Ebola

NOVA

Hear reports from the Ebola hot zone and from labs where scientists are racing to find a cure.

60 min.

Schedule

Thursday
11/27/14 7:00 PM
WGBH World
Friday
11/28/14 12:00 AM
WGBH World
Friday
11/28/14 8:00 AM
WGBH World
Friday
11/28/14 2:00 PM
WGBH World
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In its worst crisis since World War II, Japan faces disaster on an epic scale: a rising death toll in the tens of thousands, massive destruction of homes and businesses, shortages of water and power, and the specter of nuclear meltdown at three reactors. The facts and figures are astonishing.

The March 11th earthquake was the world’s fourth largest earthquake since record keeping began in 1900 and the worst ever to shake Japan. The seismic shock wave released over 4,000 times the energy of the largest nuclear test ever conducted; it shifted the earth’s axis by 6 inches and shortened the day by a few millionths of a second. The tsunami slammed Japan’s coast with 30 feet-high waves that traveled 6 miles inland, obliterating entire towns in a matter of minutes.

Beyond its suspenseful unfolding of day-to-day events, Japan’s Killer Quake one-hour documentary will explore the disaster’s broader implications and feature leading earthquake scientists who will look for evidence of whether the quake fully relieved the strain on the fault, or whether is a risk of serious future shocks.

Japan’s Killer Quake will also explore the risk of a comparable disaster on the US west coast, where earthquake preparedness is nowhere near as advanced as in Japan. What can be done to anticipate the worst? Or it is simply impractical to design ahead for the kind of extremely rare and unlikely combination of deadly factors that came together on March 11th?

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