Powerful quake rocks northern Japan, no casualtiesMarch 9th, 2011 - 8:34 pm ICT by BNO News
TOKYO (BNO NEWS) — A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan on late Wednesday morning, seismologists said, generating small tsunamis but causing no damage or casualties.
The 7.2-magnitude earthquake at 11.45 a.m. local time (0245 GMT) was centered about 168 kilometers (104 miles) east of Sendai, located on the nation’s main island of Honshu. It struck about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
Earthquake shaking could be felt as far as the capital of Tokyo, which is located around 413 kilometers (256 miles) from the epicenter. The strongest shaking observed on land, however, was around 5.0 on the Richter scale.
Because the earthquake struck so far from the coastline, it had a minimal impact. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated that approximately 5.9 million people may have felt moderate earthquake shaking, which could result in light damage.
JMA immediately issued a tsunami advisory - which is less severe than a warning - for a part of its Pacific coastline, although they were later canceled. Small tsunami waves of up to 0.6 meter (1.9 feet) hit some areas, causing no damage or casualties, JMA confirmed.
Tsunamis less than 1 meter (3.2 feet) in height do normally not cause damage and are a frequent occurrence after a major earthquake.
Japan sits on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent and large earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions also occur frequently in the region.
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