Shortly after the Tohoku Megathrust Earthquake struck off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, something strange happened in Norway. People watched in astonishment and fear as tight wave action in the normally quiet fjords made them appear to boil. The water became roiled with 5 foot waves in the Auruland-Flam Fjord, and the condition waxed and waned for hours. The cause was a mystery until recently, but now a new study has shown that the wave action in Norway was linked to the Japanese earthquake.

Fjords that were facing toward toward Japan became agitated just half an hour after the Japanese quake. It was clear that wave action could not have flowed southwestward toward Norway in that short amount of time. The new study indicates that the waves were what are known as seiches, a type of freak wave that is usually associated with high winds across enclosed waters such as lakes. The waves were caused by deep underground shaking generated by the quake.

Earth has been affected in recent years by an unusual number of epic earthquakes, including the Tohoku Megathrust, with 10 quakes causing significant death tolls since the year 2000, and three epic quakes during this period. In total, 792,258 people have lost their lives in large earthquakes in this thirteen year period. In the 1990s, 93,664 people lost their lives in great earthquakes.

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