8.8 quake hits Japan, triggers tsunami (Second Lead)

March 11th, 2011 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, March 11 (IANS) A massive earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale hit Japan and triggered tsunamis as high as 10 metres that slammed coastal areas. There was no immediate estimate of casualties.

The massive earthquake struck off Japan’s north-eastern coast, forcing people to flee out of their homes.

The quake that struck Honshu island at 2.46 p.m. (0546 GMT) was felt in almost all areas in Japan’s Pacific coast, including Tokyo and Osaka. The powerful quake hit 382 km northeast of Tokyo with a depth of 10 km under the seabed.

Numerous people were reported to be injured and black smoke was seen rising from buildings in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront area. There was blackout throughout Yamagata Prefecture, Kyodo news agency quoted police as saying.

TV pictures showed wave crashing into the coast and a massive body of water surging through the area that carried away cars.

The quake generated a tsunami as high as 10 metres that hit the coast of Miyagi, DPA quoted officials as saying.

NHK public broadcaster showed footage of many submerged vehicles in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture, as a 4.20-metre tsunami hit the city’s coast.

The 8.8-magnitude earthquake, one of the biggest in recent times, hit Japan, generating a six-metre tsunami and injuring several people, Xinhua reported.

Japan Meteorological Agency said earlier that the quake was measured at 7.9 magnitude but the US Geological Survey upgraded later said the quake was 8.8 magnitude on the Richter scale.

A nuclear plant on the Pacific coast in Miyagi Prefecture was automatically shut down Friday following the quake.

Tsunami alerts were issued in the Philippines, Taiwan, Guam and Russia as well as islands in the Pacific.

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