Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the situation in earthquake-devastated Japan.
Today's programming highlights...
Ongoing coverage - Earthquake, tsunami devastate Japan
8:15 am ET - Frank Buckles memorial - Friends, family and other honor World War I veteran Frank Buckles, who died last month at age 110.¬† A memorial in Buckles' honor takes place at Arlington National Cemetery.
The head coach of the University of Colorado Buffaloes basketball team is trying to comprehend why his team did not make the field of 68 in the NCAA tournament while trying to motivate his guys to begin play in the post-season National Invitation Tournament. Boyle was hosting a watch party at his house that was featured on the CBS broadcast that announced the brackets, and the nation saw stunned and disappointed faces as Colorado's players and coaches realized they would not be playing in the tournament.¬† "I had no words to console them," Boyle said afterward. "I thought we were in." He wasn't the only one.
For more information, check out CNN's "Impact Your World" section.
The world is mobilizing to help victims of Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami on Japan.
The U.S. State Department is urging U.S. citizens to contact friends and family as soon as possible. They can also e-mail the State Department at JapanEmergencyUSC@state.gov. Those seeking information on security in or travel to Japan can call 1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-501-4444.
Google also is assisting in helping victims touch base with friends and loved ones. Its People Finder, which was tracking almost 153,000 records as of Monday morning, allows users to look for victims or post information about people. It works in five languages.
As myriad nations offer monetary aid, condolences and rescue teams, many people around the world are seeking ways to ease the burden on the Japanese government and people.
The humanitarian group World Vision is rushing personnel into the affected areas and providing food, water, medical supplies and shelter for victims.
It also plans to establish one or more ‚Äúchild-friendly spaces‚ÄĚ for kids ‚Äúaffected by disasters to resume normal childhood activities and experience structure and security that are often lost following emergency situations."
The American Red Cross sent a disaster expert from Washington to Japan on Monday and the Japanese Red Cross has dispatched dozens of response teams. If you'd like to donate to the Red Cross efforts, text "redcross" to 90999, and you can make a $10 donation to the organization.
CNN.com Live is your home for the latest developments from Japan, where an earthquake has devastated parts of the country.
Today's programming highlights...
Ongoing coverage - Japan earthquake aftermath
9:30 am ET - NYSE opening bell - Japan's Nikkei stock exchange took a hit on its first full day of trading following the earthquake, falling six percent.¬† How will Wall Street react to Japan's woes?
Disasters like those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl long ago prompted nations with nuclear power plants to ensure detailed plans are in place in case of an emergency.
With potential crises unfolding at two nuclear plants, Japanese authorities have evacuated tens of thousands of residents from the danger areas.
A handful of people have tested positive for high radiation levels on their skin and clothes, and the Japanese government is working to distribute potassium iodide to residents near the reactors.
Potassium iodide blocks the thyroid gland‚Äôs absorption of radiation, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission urges states to consider including the pills as a protective measure for anyone in the 10-mile emergency planning zone surrounding a nuclear power plant.
There is no indication the U.S. has been or will be affected by Japan‚Äôs nuclear troubles, but advice and regulations from U.S. government agencies provide insight into how Japan¬†might respond to the damaged reactors.
Millions of people have been affected after a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on Friday. Hundreds have been killed, and many more are¬†missing as¬†aftershocks rock the country. Are you there? Send an iReport.¬†Here are some personal stories from around the world:
- Matthew Williams, 23, lives in Shin-Urayasu, Japan but is originally from Newport Beach, California. Williams was at work when the earthquake hit and was stuck there for eight hours until it was okay to for him to walk home. He took these pictures of the aftermath.
"We've been provided some water rations but only about one to two liters and still not sure when we are to get more," he said. "The city has told us we are able to take a bucket to the local elementary school to obtain some water, but the wait is about three hours."
- Yoshi Ikeda, 34, works at the US Navy Base pool in Yokosuka, Japan. He took this video of water flowing out of the pools during the earthquake.
- iReporter Wade Reed was on the U.S. Navy base in Miura City when the buildings starting to shake. It took him more than six hours to locate his wife and son. He said if the tsunami had been as violent in Miura as it was in other parts of Japan, he wouldn't have made it to his family in time.
"I was very worried for my son because his school had just let out at 2:45 and he was heading home. I went to the local train station to only find out that all the trains had stopped and there was no service. I had to walk to get to my wife's work and that took me almost two hours to get to her," he says. "We finally made it home about 2.5 hours later and still had to find my son. He was safe at his school but we again with traffic it took us some time to get to him.
"The Japanese people had fear on their faces and know one knew what was next. But I am lucky because we did get a little bit of the tsunami but nothing like what they got up north. I was very scared but I had to remain calm and think about the situation."
Many questions remained about Saturday‚Äôs explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan. In general, these kinds of facilities are among the most carefully designed and heavily scrutinized structures in the world, said a top civil engineer.
Ron Hamburger, who travels the world studying earthquake-damaged buildings and other structures, says a typical nuclear power plant is designed to withstand earthquakes of the magnitude that only occurs once every 10,000 years.
Friday‚Äôs quake was the most powerful to hit the island nation in recorded history, and the tsunami it unleashed traveled across the Pacific Ocean. Reports from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Italy estimated the 8.9-magnitude quake shifted the entire planet on its axis by nearly 4 inches (10 centimeters).
Engineers typically design nuclear facilities with very thick walls. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not unusual for the reinforced concrete walls of these structures to be between 3 and 6 feet thick,‚ÄĚ Hamburger said Friday before reports surfaced about the Japanese blast. ‚ÄúThe reason the walls are that thick is not so much for structural strength, but rather because they use the concrete in part to shield any possible radiation.‚ÄĚ
Typically, equipment that‚Äôs most critical to safety at these plants has been rigorously tested for earthquake resiliency on so-called ‚Äúshaking tables.‚ÄĚ The equipment being tested ‚Äď pumps, control valves and electric motors - is attached to the shaking tables - which measure as large as 20 feet by 20 feet. Computers use data from past earthquakes to move the table and the equipment up and down and side-to-side to closely simulate movement from actual quakes.
‚ÄúThe entire design and testing process of these nuclear facilities is designed to withstand the earthquake, shut down safely and contain any radiation hazards,‚ÄĚ Hamburger said.
An 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit northern Japan today, triggering tsunamis that sent a wave filled with boats and houses toward land. Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast are under a tsunami warning. Are you in an affected area? Send an iReport. Read the full report on how the quake hit Japan and generated a Pacific-wide tsunami.
[11:01 p.m. ET, 1:01 p.m. Tokyo] At least 398 people are dead and 805 are missing after the massive earthquake in Japan, the Kyodo News Agency reported Saturday. Earlier, the news agency said the death toll from the massive earthquake would likely surpass 1,000.
[10:01 p.m. ET, 12:01 p.m. Tokyo] As rescue crews continue to account for the damage caused by the country's largest earthquake on record, people in Japan on Saturday are struggling to contact loved ones near the hardest hit areas.
Lucy Craft, a freelance correspondent in Tokyo, has a teenage son at a high school near the epicenter in Sendai, northeast of Tokyo. More than 18 hours after the quake, she hadn't been able to make contact.
"The phone lines are still down... I haven't been able to get in touch with him by cell phone, I haven't been able to contact anybody there. I have his teacher's phone number," Craft said Saturday morning in Tokyo. "It's a very upsetting situation, as you can imagine."
[10:32 p.m. ET, 12:32 p.m. Tokyo] Residents of northern Japan streamed south from their earthquake-stricken hometowns Saturday, crowding stores in search of vital supplies as rescue teams worked north toward the historic quake's epicenter.
Roads and buildings showed cracks as far away as 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Sendai, the closest city to the epicenter. One man told CNN the scene in towns hit by the quake and the resulting tsunami was "unimaginable."
Shoppers were polite but tense as they sought food, water and gasoline from stores where shelves were quickly emptied and pumps soon ran dry.
[9:20 p.m. ET, 11:20 a.m. Tokyo] ÔĽŅAt least 200 people are dead in Japan, 700 are missing, and the death toll is increasing every hour since a devastating earthquake hit the country Friday, Japan's ambassador to the United States said.
"This is the most terribible earthquake we've had," Ichiro Fujisaki told CNN's Piers Morgan. "This is a terrible incident that has hit Japan."
At least six million homes are without electricity, accounting for about 10 percent of Japan's households, he said. The government is responding to recovery efforts with 8,000 self-defense forces, and the Coast Guard is contributing 300 ships and 40 airplanes, he said.
"We are mobilizing all we can."
[8:30 p.m. ET, 10:30 a.m. Tokyo] ÔĽŅEcuadorian President Rafael Correa ordered the evacuation of the Galapagos Islands and of cities along the country's coast Friday.
Millions of people have been affected after a devastating earthquake hit Japan on Friday. An estimated hundreds have been killed, and many more are¬†planning for aftershocks. Here are some personal stories from around the world:
- iReporter Christopher Lacey was standing on his back deck, talking on the phone about the events in Japan when he noticed a disturbance in the waters of Richardson Bay, which is part of the San Francisco Bay.
"The waves did not appear to be more than about 3 feet high from my perspective."
- iReporter Kristi Marie Gott narrates what happened when she heard the tsunami warning, in Florence, Oregon early this morning. "I wanted to let people see what the tsunami surges looked like on the Oregon Coast near Heceta Head Lighthouse. To a local person it was amazing to see the ocean surge back as the water withdrew, leaving the shallows and rocks visible, then surge forward again covering them all the way to the cliffs. I go there all the time so it was clear this was very different from the usual waves or tides."
- iReporter Travis Richardson, of Fremont, California, was evacuated from his hotel in Tokyo and recorded some images of a massive fire nearby.
"We were forced to leave the hotel and stand outside, I could see the big billowing dark smoke coming from I'm guessing an oil rig possible approximately 4 to 5 miles away and pulled out my iPhone to take photos and video. Thought I should document this, everyone was standing outside. When the aftershocks happened they told us to move further away from the hotel and stand in the grassy area between the buildings."
The power of water can be so destructive it can kill thousands of people in seconds with little warning.
The U.S. is lucky that it knew about a threat of a tsunami and had hours to prepare and evacuate following Friday's massive earthquake in Japan.
Japan was inundated with as much as 30 feet of water shortly after the 8.9-magnitude quake. Residents had about a 15-minute warning to get to higher ground. The death toll is already in the hundreds and still rising.¬†Tsunami warnings were issued for the entire Pacific basin.
When a powerful earthquake moves the seafloor and displaces water, it spawns a tsunami, a series of waves that can travel through the water for thousands of miles at speeds up to 600 mph.
That's as fast as a jetliner.
It's called the "Great Tokai Earthquake" - a predicted disaster southwest of Tokyo¬†that Japan has spent trillions of yen¬†preparing for, based on the inexact¬†science of predicting earthquakes.
But Friday's¬†8.9-magnitude quake happened¬†in a completely different subduction¬†zone - where two oceanic plates¬† collide.¬† So is Japan still at risk for another great quake?¬† FULL POST
The threat of a tsunami prompted the U.S. National Weather Service to issue a warning for cities along the Pacific Coast after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan on Friday.
Below is the estimated arrival time for the first tsunami wave to hit the following U.S. cities, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:
Craig, Alaska¬†- 5:26 a.m (9:26 a.m. ET).
Neah Bay, Washington - 7:10 a.m. (10:10 a.m. ET)
Seattle - 8:44 a.m. (11:44 a.m. ET)
Oregon-Washington border¬†- 7:12 a.m. (10:12 a.m. ET)
Cascade Head, Oregon (70 miles¬†southwest of Portland) - 7:16 a.m. (10:16 a.m. ET)
Cape Mendocino, California - 7:17 a.m. (10:17 a.m. ET)
Monterey, California - 7:44 a.m. (10:44 a.m. ET)
San Francisco - 8:08 a.m. (11:08 a.m. ET)
California-Mexico border - 8:47 a.m. (11:47 a.m. ET)
"The listing of a tsunami time does not mean that a wave is imminent,"¬†NOAA said on its website. "The listed arrival time is the intitial wave arrival. Tsunamis can be dangerous for many hours after arrival, and the initial wave is not necessarily the largest."
A powerful earthquake struck Japan on Friday,¬†unleashing a tsunami that swept debris miles inland. CNN iReport contributors¬†in the affected areas are starting to file in.
CNN iReporter¬†Chris Postnikoff¬†witnessed a¬†mushroom cloud coming from an oil refinery just outside Tokyo.
With the streets filled with pedestrians and motorists, the fire department is having a difficult time arriving to contain the fire, Postnikoff said.
"Many people back in (North) America who have not experienced a severe earthquake might scoff," Postnikoff said, "but the fact that the Earth shook strongly enough to form a CRACK shows what kind of power (and pressure) Japan is sitting overtop of."
Are you there? Did you feel it? Send us your stories and iReports.
In more than one way a tsunami comes out of the blue.
Mammoth waves generated by a sub-sea earthquake can sneak upon a shoreline and wreak havoc upon unaware coastal residents in minutes.
But a new tsunami warning system developed by Georgia Tech seismologists¬†has the potential to save lives by giving residents more time to get out of harm's way, according to Andrew Newman, assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
The system, known as RTerg, aims to measure and identify tsunamis in real time, Newman told CNN Saturday.
A strong earthquake rattled Vanuatu in the southern Pacific on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reports.
The epicenter for the magnitude 6.6 quake was about 72 miles west of Isangel at a depth of 31 kilometers (19 miles).
There were no immediate reports of damage. No tsunami warning was issued.
A stronger earthquake struck the island Sunday.