December 7, 2012 – A 7.3 Magnitude Earthquake Struck off the East Coast of Honshu, Japan; Followed by a 6.2 Magnitude Aftershock: A strong earthquake struck Friday off the coast of northeastern Japan in the same region that was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Authorities issued a warning of a possible tsunami. A 6.2 magnitude aftershock hit 13 minutes later in almost the exact same spot (see map below).
Both quakes occurred exactly on the Ring of Fire.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Miyagi prefecture at 5:18 p.m. (0818 GMT). The epicenter was 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) beneath the seabed. The 6.2 magnitude quake hit at 5:31 p.m. (0831 GMT) NWW of the main shock.
The warning said the tsunami could be as high as 2 meters (2.19 yards or 6 ½ feet).
NHK television broke off regular programming to warn that a strong quake was due to hit shortly before the earthquake struck. Afterward, the announcer repeatedly urged all near the coast to flee to higher ground.
Buildings in Tokyo swayed for at least several minutes. The aftershock 13 minutes after the main event unnerved the public. The fear was this could be the start of a series of powerful quakes.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake (see map) and ensuing tsunami that slammed into northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, killed or left missing some 19,000 people, devastating much of the coast. All but two of Japan’s nuclear plants were shut down for checks after the earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
Immediately following Friday’s quake, there were no problems at any of the nuclear plants operated by Fukushima Dai-Ichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., said a TEPCO spokesman, Takeo Iwamoto.
The 7.3 magnitude quake occurred 462 kilometers (287 miles) ENE of Tokyo, Japan. The 6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred in the same region (see map) 13 minutes after the main shock.
The Master of Disaster