Steve Schimmrich is a geologist and community college professor in a rural area of the mid-Hudson Valley of New York. All of the opinions expressed here are strictly his own. Sometimes he gets cranky and uses bad words.
Here's a neat illustration from Geocommons on the displacement in Japan from the March 11 earthquake.
The GPS data is from JPL and NASA and the attached caption reads: The displacement is both horizontal and vertical. The displacement in space ranges from just a fraction of a meter to more than 4 meters (24 ft).
Imagine the amount of energy necessary to shove tens of thousands of square kilometers of landscape a meter or more in a matter of seconds!