Strong earthquake jolts eastern Japan

August 12th, 2011 - 1:55 am ICT by BNO News  

TOKYO (BNO NEWS) — A strong earthquake struck off the eastern coast of Japan on early Friday morning, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake at 3.22 a.m. local time (1822 GMT Thursday) was centered about 18 kilometers (11 miles) east-southeast of Iwaki, a city located in the southern part of the Hamadōri coastal region of Fukushima Prefecture. It struck about 50 kilometers (31 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

Tremors with an intensity of 5 minus on the Japanese seismic scale of 0 to 7 were felt in several areas near the coast, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the strength of the earthquake at 5.9 on the Richter scale, estimated that some 150,000 people in the region may have felt strong shaking.

Because earthquakes with a magnitude below 7 do normally not generate tsunamis, neither JMA nor the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch or warning. “This earthquake poses no tsunami risk,” JMA said.

Japan, which is on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, is still recovering from an enormous 9.0-magnitude earthquake which struck off the coast of northeastern Japan on March 11, generating a large tsunami. The earthquake and resulting tsunami left at least 15,689 people killed while 4,744 others remain missing and are feared dead.

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