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| Earth on Aug 14, 2012

7.7-magnitude earthquake strikes in ocean north of Japan

A very strong 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck in the deep ocean east of Russia and north of Japan. No injuries or casualties reported. No tsunami warning.

Via U.S. Geological Survey

A powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake has struck deep in the Sea of Okhotsk off the east coast of Russia, north of Jpan’s northern island of Hokkaido. The tremor was felt as far away as Tokyo, some over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away. No tsunami warning has been issued, and there have been no reports of injuries or casualities.

Here are the details of the quakes, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Event Time
2012-08-14 02:59:42 UTC
2012-08-14 12:59:42 UTC+10:00 at epicenter
2012-08-13 21:59:42 UTC-05:00 system time

Nearby Cities
158km (98mi) ENE of Poronaysk, Russia
227km (141mi) ENE of Shakhtersk, Russia
237km (147mi) ENE of Uglegorsk, Russia
244km (152mi) ESE of Aleksandrovsk-Sakhalinskiy, Russia
1626km (1010mi) NNE of Tokyo, Japan

This is a screen grab from the U.S. Geological Survey’s summary page so the buttons will not work. But this map shows you the location of today’s earthquake.

The quake’s epicentre was deep – over 380 miles (625 km) down – according to the US Geological Survey in an initial report.

Japan is situated along the so-called Ring of Fire in the Pacific – a place where tectonic plates come together. As a result, it undergoes earthquakes regularly. In this region, relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving northwest between 83 mm and 75 mm per year. The Pacific tectonic plate subducts – or goes below – down into Earth’s mantle below the larger North America tectonic plate. This natural movement of Earth causes earthquakes and volcanoes.

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The Ring of Fire. In the area of the August 14, 2012 earthquake, the Pacific plate is subducting, or going beneath, the larger North American plate. Image via Enchanted Learning

According to Japan’s Meteorological agency, those in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido felt the August 14 quake. AFP journalists said it was felt as far away as Tokyo.

Last year – on March 11, 2011 – the 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake of the coast of northeastern Japan – and subsequent tsunami – caused devastation and left some 18,000 people dead or missing. Most who died did so by drowning. The March 11, 2011 quake was the most powerful known earthquake ever to have hit Japan, and one of the five most powerful earthquakes in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900.

Bottom Line: A very strong 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck deep in the ocean east of Russia and north of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. No injuries or casualties have been reported, and no tsunami warning was issued. This region of the world is prone to earthquakes. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake – the most powerful ever known to have struck Japan – took place a little over a year ago on March 11, 2011.