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Strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake shakes northern Japan

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake shook northern Japan today, in much the same region heavily damaged by the March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami of a year ago.

UPDATED MARCH 14, 2012 10:30 CST or 15:20 UTC. The strong earthquake off the coast of northern Japan this morning has been updated to a magnitude of 6.9, and it has been followed by several strong aftershocks. No injuries or damages have been reported. The USGS recorded these aftershocks of magnitude 5 or greater in the area, as of this time:

March 14, 2012 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or greater off coast of northern Japan via USGS

Click here to expand image above

Click here to go to USGS Latest Earthquakes page

MARCH 14, 2012 5:20 CST or 10:20 UTC. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is reporting a strong earthquake of the coast of northern Japan today (March 14, 2012), measuring 6.8 magnitude on seismic scales. Regional tsunami advisories have been issued, with a tsunami of about a half-meter expected for Japan’s Aomori and Iwate prefectures, according to AP. No tsunami warning was issued for Hawaii or the Pacific at large.

Iwate was in the region heavily damaged by the March 11, 2011 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in nearly the same region of Japan. According to USGS, here are the specifics of today’s quake.

Region: OFF EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Geographic coordinates: 40.899N, 144.923E
Magnitude: 6.8 Mw
Depth: 26 km
Universal Time (UTC): 14 Mar 2012 09:08:37
Time near the Epicenter: 14 Mar 2012 19:08:37

Location with respect to nearby cities:
234 km (145 miles) S (169 degrees) of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
292 km (181 miles) E (80 degrees) of Hachinohe, Honshu, Japan
347 km (216 miles) ENE (67 degrees) of Morioka, Honshu, Japan
736 km (457 miles) NE (36 degrees) of TOKYO, Japan

This region is on the so-called Ring of Fire, which encircles the Pacific Ocean and is prone to earthquakes. The chart immediately below shows today’s earthquake. The middle chart shows earthquakes in this region of magnitude 3 or greater since 1990. The third chart shows earthquakes in this region of magnitude 7 or greater since 1900.

The March 14, 2012 magnitude 6.8 earthquake in northern Japan. Image via USGS.

Magnitude 3 or greater earthquakes off coast of northern Japan since 1990. Image via USGS.

Magnitude 7 or greater earthquakes off coast of northern Japan since 1900. Image via USGS.

Bottom line: A 6.9-magnitude earthquake shook northern Japan today, in much the same region heavily damaged by the March 11, 2011 quake of a year ago. AP says that regional tsunami warnings were issued for Japan’s Aomori and Iwate prefectures, with a tsunami about about a half-meter expected, but no tsunami warning was issued for Hawaii or the Pacific at large.

Deborah Byrd

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