March 2012 marks the first anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude <a href="/earth/geology/quake_1.html&dev=">earthquake</a>, <a href="/earth/tsunami1.html&dev=">tsunami</a>, and resulting nuclear accident in Japan on <a href="/headline_universe/march112011earthquaketsunami.html&dev=">11 March 2011</a>.  The tsunami did massive damage, wiping out entire villages and killing ~16,000 people, and leading to one of the most serious nuclear accidents in history.  This image shows before and after photos of the area north of Sendai, where 10,000 people were lost.<p><small><em>Photos by <a href="">GeoEye/EyeQ</a>.</em></small></p>An <a href="">8.6 magnitude earthquake</a> struck on 11 April 2012 off of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, followed by a strong aftershock.  Earthquake motion was primarily horizontal.  A tsunami warning was issued for the Indian Ocean, but was cancelled at 12:36 UTC.  A tsunami was observed at 1 meter or less. Find out more about <a href="/earth/geology/quake_1.html&dev=">earthquake</a> and <a href="/earth/tsunami1.html&dev=">tsunami</a> processes. Check out the resources <a href="/teacher_resources/2011_AGU-NESTA_GIFT_Workshop.html&dev=">here</a>.<p><small><em>NOAA</em></small></p>A new study has found that <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/airpollution_intro.html&dev=">pollution</a> from <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/particulates.html&dev=">fine particles</a> in the air - mainly the result of burning coal or <a href="/earth/interior/eruptions.html&dev=">volcanic eruptions</a> - can shade <a href="/earth/Life/cnidarian.html&dev=">corals</a> from sunlight and cool the surrounding water resulting in reduced growth rates.  Coral growth rates in the Caribbean were affected by volcanic aerosol emissions in the early 20th century and by aerosol emissions caused by humans in the later 20th century.  For more information, see the <a href="">press release</a>.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Toby Hudson (Wikimedia Commons)</em></small></p>Scientists at the University of Michigan have found that <a href="/earth/polar/cryosphere_permafrost1.html&dev=">permafrost</a> in the <a href="/earth/polar/polar_north.html&dev=">Arctic</a> is extremely sensitive to sunlight.  Exposure to sunlight releases carbon gases trapped in the permafrost, including <a href="/earth/climate/earth_greenhouse.html&dev=">climate-warming</a> <a href="/physical_science/chemistry/carbon_dioxide.html&dev=">carbon dioxide</a>, to the <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html&dev=">atmosphere</a> much faster than previously thought.<p><small><em>George Kling, The University of Michigan</em></small></p>An image of Hurricane Sandy taken by the GOES-13 satellite on October 28.  This category 1 <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/hurricane/hurricane.html&dev=">hurricane</a> was huge, spanning a horizontal distance of about one-third the US continental landmass.  The storm came onshore in New Jersey, and gradually moved northeast.  The storm disrupted the lives of tens of millions in the eastern US, doing billions of dollars in damage, resulting in over 30 deaths.  Visit the National Hurricane Center's webpage on <a href="">Hurricane Sandy</a> for details.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of NASA</em></small></p>There are over 900 <a href="/the_universe/uts/megalith.html&dev=">rings of stone</a> located in the British Isles. The most famous of these stone rings is of course, <a href="/the_universe/uts/stonehenge.html&dev=">Stonehenge</a>.    The stones of Stonehenge were put in place between 3,000 B.C and 2,000 B.C. by neolithic people.Some speculate that the site was built as a temple of worship of the ancient Earth deities. Some say it was used as an <a href="/the_universe/uts/stonehenge_astro.html&dev=">astronomical observatory</a> of sorts. Still others say it was a burial ground.<p><small><em>  Image courtesy of Corel Photography.</em></small></p>

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