TOKYO (BNO NEWS) -- A strong earthquake struck off the eastern coast of Japan on late Wednesday evening, seismologists said, but there were no reports of damage or casualties.
The 5.9-magnitude earthquake at 9.44 p.m. local time (1144 GMT) was centered about 303 kilometers (188 miles) east of Iwaki, a city located in the southern part of the Hamadōri coastal region of Fukushima Prefecture. It struck about 10 kilometers (6 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).
Tremors with an intensity of 2 on the Japanese seismic scale of 0 to 7 were felt in several areas near the coast, but there were no reports of damage or casualties. The United States Geological Survey (USGS), which measured the strength of the earthquake at 6.2 on the Richter scale, estimated that some 3 million people in the region may have felt light 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 15,698 people killed while 4,666 others remain missing and are feared dead.
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Editor's Note: Click here for USGS report. Map of earthquake below.
View Live Ustream Radiation Detectors in a larger map
Disclaimer: I do not necessarily agree with the dutchsinse claim below that USGS downgrades the severity of quakes, but thought it was an interesting analysis nonetheless and worth mentioning.
Dutchsinse Take on the Quake
Quoting the description text of the video:
*FIRST video cross posted from http://www.dutchsinse.com/blog *
Proof of two OTHER 6.0's this past week that the USGS did NOT report:
link to my website -- original video can be downloaded there:
link to the USGS stats:
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc0005fj1.php This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Magnitude 6.2 Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 11:44:07 UTC Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 09:44:07 PM at epicenter
Location 36.776°N, 143.773°E
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) (poorly constrained)
Region OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances 304 km (188 miles) E of Iwaki, Honshu, Japan
339 km (210 miles) E of Mito, Honshu, Japan
349 km (216 miles) ESE of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
418 km (259 miles) ENE of TOKYO, Japan