Strong earthquake hits western Japan, unrelated to major 8.9 jolt

March 12th, 2011 - 3:15 am ICT by BNO News  

TOKYO (BNO NEWS) — A strong earthquake struck western Japan on early Saturday morning, seismologists said, but the earthquake was not an aftershock to Friday’s massive jolt that devastated the country.

The 6.6-magnitude earthquake at 03.59 a.m. local time (1859 GMT Friday) was centered in Niigata Prefecture in northern Japan, causing buildings as far away as in Tokyo to sway. It was centered about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, ccording to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

A seismologist at the United States Geological Survey said the earthquake was not an aftershock to the massive 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck off northeastern Japan on Friday, unleashing a huge tsunami that devastated the nation. He could not say if the earthquake was triggered by the 8.9 quake, however.

Soon after the earthquake, a strong 5.8-magnitude aftershock jolted western Japan. It was later followed by a 6.4 quake off the northwestern coast of Japan.

No new tsunami warnings were issued as a result of the new earthquake, and it could not be determined if the quake caused new casualties in the tsunami-hit region.

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