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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 10th November 2017 > Eco-Roulette


Look what the tide brought in: a new, invasive species!


MARCH 11, 2011, STARTED LIKE any other day for the many mussels along Japan’s eastern coastline— clinging to docks and straining their snacks out of the water—until 2:46 p.m., that is, when two colliding chunks of the Earth’s crust set off six minutes of ground-shattering quakes, then a series of gigantic waves powerful enough to crush three-story buildings and rip docks off their moorings.

That earthquake and tsunami killed about 18,000 people and caused more than $200 billion in damage. Simply clearing away the debris took about four years. But not all of the debris stayed in Japan, and the untold story of what was sent adrift offers a revealing glimpse of how natural disasters reshape the world, often in the most unexpected ways.

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