"That's a reasonable number," USGS seismologist Paul Earle told AFP
. "Eight feet, that's certainly going to be in the ballpark."
"With an earthquake this large, you can get these huge ground shifts," Earle said. "On the actual fault you can get 20 meters (65 feet) of relative movement, on the two sides of the fault."
The magnitude 8.9 that occurred near the east coast of Honshu, Japan, occurred as a result of thrust faulting on or near the subduction zone interface plate boundary between the Pacific and North America plates.
According to USGS
, "The March 11 earthquake was preceded by a series of large fore shocks over the previous two days, beginning on March 9th with an M 7.2 event approximately 40 km from the March 11 earthquake, and continuing with a further 3 earthquakes greater than M 6 on the same day."
reports, "Hundreds of aftershocks have continued to batter the coast of Japan more than two days after the worst earthquake in the country's recorded history, offering no respite for survivors."
"Thirty of them have measured more than magnitude 6, and Japan's meteorological agency has warned that there is a 70% possibility of a tremor of magnitude 7 or higher in the next three days, and a 50% risk in subsequent days."
Aside from the continuing strong aftershocks with more than 5.0 magnitude, Japan is faced with impending disaster stemming from overheated nuclear power plants in the disaster area.
Some residents nearby were reportedly hit by the nuclear fallout as thousands of people living in the designated danger zones are evacuated to safer grounds.