Striking at 14:46 local-time (12:46am EST) today, the earthquake is not only the largest Japan's ever suffered, but also in the world's top ten. After-effects in the form of tidal waves are expected to hit the US in just a few hours. Updated.

The north-east of Japan was hit the hardest, but it was felt in Tokyo too, some 400km away. Several smaller tremors were created off the back of the larger earthquake, along with 33 foot-high tidal waves and fires dotting the country.

Google has set up a Person Finder website, for relatives and friends of those in Japan. This comes after Google launched the website for the New Zealand earthquake back in February.

This video was filmed inside a Japanese tower block, and while it's got pretty strong language (making it NSFW if you haven't got headphones), it shows the terror everyone must have felt when experiencing the quakes. Al Jazeera has reported that worryingly, the tsunami wave is actually higher than some pacific islands, and it is expected to hit Hawaii around 3am local-time on Friday, and move on to Californian, Alaskan and Oregon coastlines.

You can watch live footage of it here, and donate to the Red Cross here.

I'm sure plenty more people will join me in urging Mother Nature to lay the eff off the world for a while. Or, preferably, for good. [BBC]

UPDATE: Japan has declared a nuclear emergency, as a cooling function on one of their nuclear plants has failed.

UPDATE 2: Over 60 have been confirmed dead in Japan, as of 8am EST.

UPDATE 3: 88,000 people have been recorded as missing.

See our full coverage of the earthquake and tsunami here.