Powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake off Japan's northeastern coast rocks Fukushima, Miyagi
A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale struck off the coast of northeastern Japan late on Saturday, jolting Fukushima, Miyagi, and Tokyo, among other areas. There have been no reports of any casualties so far. While the authorities have issued no tsunami warning, people living near coastal areas have been advised to move to higher ground, said reports. Here's more.
Epicenter of quake was off the coast of Fukushima prefecture
According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the epicenter of the earthquake was off the coast of the Fukushima prefecture at a depth of 60km. The quake hit at around 11:08 pm local time (7:38 pm IST) and shook buildings and triggered blackouts in the Japanese capital of Tokyo and several other places. The agency also added that no tsunami warning has been issued.
No major damage reported; 950,000 households were without power
While no major damage has been reported, government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato told the media that about 950,000 households were without power. He added that the quake caused no irregularities at the Fukushima Dai-ni and Onagawa nuclear power plant facilities. Meanwhile, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that there were no irregularities at another nuclear facility at Tokaimura in Ibaraki prefecture, too.
Buildings shook in Fukushima, Miyagi, Tokyo and other areas
Emergency task force set up to assess the situation
The Japanese Government has also set up an emergency task force for assessing the situation following the earthquake. Moreover, Kato said that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has instructed the government authorities to survey the damage caused by the earthquake, launch rescue efforts wherever required, and relay information to the people in a timely manner.
Japan is situated within 'Ring of Fire' in Pacific Ocean
The earthquake comes less than a month before the 10-year anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the same region that had left around 19,000 people dead or missing. Notably, Japan is situated within the Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean—an earthquake-prone zone.
What exactly is the 'Ring of Fire'?
"Most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions do not strike randomly but occur in specific areas, such as along plate boundaries," says the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website. "One such area is the circum-Pacific Ring of Fire, where the Pacific Plate meets many surrounding tectonic plates. The Ring of Fire is the most seismically and volcanically active zone in the world," it further explains.