For the latest news on the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami in the Pacific, visit our earthquake news section. Get the basics below:
EARTHQUAKE IN JAPAN: A massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Friday, unleashing a 23-foot wave across the Pacific. About 250 bodies have been found in the northeastern town of Sendai in Japan. Officials and residents assessing the damage say this could be the worst earthquake in modern Japanese history. "This is the kind of earthquake that hits once every 100 years,” Akira Tanaka, a 54-year-old restaurant worker, told NBC News. (More: Mother Nature Network)
TSUNAMI HITS HAWAII: A tsunami hit Hawaii and is barreling its way to the U.S. West Coast. Alerts were also issued for Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Central and South America. The Kyodo news agency reported that a ship carrying 100 people was swept away. Residents have been evacuated to refugee areas. A 4.6 magnitude earthquake also struck Hawaii at about 4 a.m. EST. Waves are expected to hit the West Coast around 11 a.m. EST. (More: Mother Nature Network)
NUCLEAR PLANT EMERGENCY: Residents have been ordered to evacuate after a Japanese nuclear plant was rocked by the quake. The evacuation order comes after a state of emergency was declared at two nuclear facilities. A cooling system failed at one, the Fukushima No. 1 plant, and a fire was reported at the Onagawa nuclear facility. (More: Mother Nature Network)
MARKET REACTION: The quake also rattled markets around the globe, with Japan's stock average dropping 1.7 percent, and other markets opening with caution. The quake struck near the end of the Asian trading session, initially triggering fears of a sell-off that didn't occur, according to initial reports from the Associated Press. Oil prices fell below $100 to $99.87 a barrel, already wobbly from violence in the Middle East and Northern Africa. The reaction from analysts and economists was mixed. "The wisdom of the crowds show that the markets are taking it very badly but I would wait for a clearer picture to assess how bad it is," Tim Condon, chief economist for the Asia at ING in Singapore, told The Telegraph. (Reuters, Associated Press, Telegraph)
Also on MNN:
A blizzard buries the northeastern U.S., the American alligator becomes endangered and more.
Today's Daily Briefing was compiled by MNN editors. Russell McLendon is on assignment.
Want to receive the day's eco-news in your inbox? Click here to sign up for the Daily Briefing newsletter.
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.