Japanese disaster is subject of upcoming cable documentaries

With the images of the devastation from the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit northeast Japan last month fresh in our minds — and with a new nuclear nightmare from destroyed reactors seemingly getting worse by the day — two cable networks are presenting documentaries in coming weeks to explore this historic catastrophe.

First off is National Geographic Channel‘s Witness: Disaster in Japan, premiering tonight at 10pm ET/PT. Coming from the producers of the acclaimed special Witness Katrina, this film takes a similar, firsthand look at this current tragedy entirely through the eyes of those who experienced it. Rarely seen home video, cell phone video and news coverage provide immediacy and raw emotion in a chronological account of the events.

(UPDATE 4/14/11: Due in part to overwhelming response, NGC will be re-airing Witness: Disaster in Japan this Sunday, April 17, at 9pm.)

Discovery Channel is also presenting a documentary about the disaster, called Megaquake: Hour That Shook Japan, premiering April 24 at 10pm ET/PT. The film features witness testimonies and footage captured that day to reveal what happened in the crucial moments following the quake as the tsunami barreled toward land. In addition to a personal look at the calamity, the special also scientifically examines what happened that day. Included is an exclusive sound recording captured at the Wake Island hydro-acoustic station 2,000 miles away. The recording, made by ultra-sensitive hydrophones, was subsequently sped up by 32 times so it could be audible to human ears, enabling us to hear the actual sound of a section of a fault line in the earth’s crust rupturing and grinding against rock with the power of 600 million Hiroshima bombs.

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Top photo: Credit National Geographic Channel

Bottom photo: Credit Discovery Channel