Strong Earthquake Strikes North-East Japan; Tsunami Alert Sounded

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.

Fukushima Update:

The cooling system is in place and fully functional at the Fukushima Power Plant. Even though the plant is far from operational, it looks good on its path to recovery. Probably, Fukushima will be closed down forever, but it needs to be restored to some steady state before the close-down, so that it doesn’t pose any risks to the environment or to the people around it.

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Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.