JAPAN JULY 9, 2011 7.1 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE


TOKYO -- A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 hit Japan's northeastern coast on Sunday, prompting a tsunami warning for the area still recovering from a devastating quake and killer wave four months ago.
Residents in coastal areas were warned to evacuate, but there were no immediate reports of damage.
The quake hit at 9:57 local time (0057 GMT), and a warning of a tsunami was issued for most of the northeastern coastline. The epicenter of the quake was in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan's main island, Honshu, at a depth of about 6 miles (10 kilometers).
Japanese officials predicted the quake could generate tsunami of up to 20 inches (50 centimeters), but the initial waves were only about 4 inches (10 centimeters).
Japan's northeastern coastline was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left nearly 23,000 dead or missing and touched off a nuclear crisis at a badly damaged facility in Fukushima.
Officials said there were no reports of abnormalities at the Fukushima plant caused by Sunday's quake. Airports in the area were also functioning normally.

Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries. Dozens of strong aftershocks have been felt since the March 11 disaster, which measured a 9.0 magnitude and was the strongest in Japanese history.
Sunday's quake registered 4 on the Japanese scale of 7, meaning it was felt as moderately strong. Because of the damage from the March quake and tsunami, however, many buildings in the area are structurally weak and seawalls have been destroyed, making the region more vulnerable to relatively weaker quakes.
Japan’s earthquake woes continue. A relatively large earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale, hit north-eastern Japan, yesterday night at 10:06 PM EST, triggering fears of a minor rerun of the gigantic quake, which struck Japan earlier in March. A tsunami alert has been sounded. This is the same region affected by the massive March quake.
The earthquake struck 6 miles off the east coast of Honshu and the epicenter was located underneath the ocean floor at a depth of 34.9 km or 21.7 miles. The strength on the Richter Scale was 7.1 and can, thus, be called a large quake.
The location of the Earthquake - 6 miles offshore (Credit: US Geological Survey)
Initial reports suggest that no significant damages have been incurred due to this recent earthquake. Locals have been evacuated and workers at the Fukushima Plant, which is currently undergoing repairs, have been moved to higher ground. After March’s devastating earthquake, which left Fukushima crippled, Tokyo Electric Power has confirmed that no further damage has been inflicted.
The Fukushima Power Plant
Tsunami alerts have been sounded, but so far, there have been no reports of any tsunami. The earliest alerts sounded warned of a 50 cm to a meter high tidal wave. Though puny by the March tsunami standards, authorities are taking no risks.
This earthquake appears to be an aftershock of the massive 9.1 March quake, but scientists are yet to confirm that. While the March quake shifted geological features and changed the tectonic map of the nearby region, yesterday’s quake is not expected to do anything of that ilk.

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