The best infographics for understanding the crisis in Japan

The tragic earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last week caused major damage to the nation’s infrastructure and has incited a potential nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. For those of us who are unfamiliar with the science behind nuclear technology or natural disasters, several news organizations have created infographics that can help provide a better understanding of the complicated events in Japan. Here are the best interactive and informative graphics we’ve come across so far.

1. The New York Times
The New York Times has coupled a number of their stories with interactive graphics that integrate illustration with Google Earth satellite images. The site has published several helpful images, including an earthquake damage map and an explainer graphic on the accident at the nuclear plant.

2. The Washington Post
The Washington Post has created a similar graphic explaining the nuclear emergency, but they’ve also supplemented it with a map of nuclear plants in seismic zones around the world.

3. Reuters
Reuters offers a before and after graphic of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, along with those illustrating the earthquake’s toll and the reactor explosion.

4. LiveScience
LiveScience illustrates how earthquakes create tsunamis, and what this means for Japan.

5. ABC News
ABC News has before and after interactive satellite images that demonstrate the destruction in different areas of the country.

For information on how you can help Japan’s relief efforts, check out GOOD’s list of resources.