Diagram of March 11 Fault Motion Sequence (image) Stanford University Caption This diagram shows the March 11 fault motion sequence. 1. Rupture of the fault plane begins at the epicenter. 2. Rupture travels westward, down the fault plane towards Honshu. The island suffers violent shaking for 40 seconds. 3. The upward sloping east side of the fault plane begins to rupture, continuing for 30 to 35 seconds. The sediments overlying the east side expand up the fault plane in response to the force of the rupture. 4. The water above the sediments is pushed into an unstable dome that then flows out in all directions as a tsunami. Credit Anna Cobb, Stanford News Service Usage Restrictions May not be altered or sold. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.