Magnitude 8.9 Quake Shakes Japan, Tsunami Hits Northeast Coast
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Nikkei has reported that a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 struck Japan Friday afternoon, causing damage in Tokyo, many reported injuries in the north where the quake was centered and sending a tsunami hurtling toward the country’s northeastern coast.
The quake, originally reported at a magnitude of 7.9 but later upgraded to 8.9 apparently exceeding the 8.9 quake that struck off Chile in February 2010.
Local television reported smoke rising from a Tokyo port building, and fire in the capital’s waterfront Odaiba district. There were reports of “numerous” injuries in Miyagi Prefecture, in northeastern Japan where the quake was centered, as a tsunami measured at anywhere from one meter to 4.2 meters hit at various places along the coast.
Location 38.322°N, 142.369°E
Depth 24.4 km (15.2 miles) set by location program
Region NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN
Distances 130 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) E of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan
178 km (110 miles) ENE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
373 km (231 miles) NE of TOKYO, Japan
A tsunami warning included Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Guam, the Northern Marianas, the Marcus Islands and the Wake Islands, while 15 nations and territories were covered by a tsunami watch.
In Tokyo, hundreds of concerned office workers tried in vain to make calls on jammed cellphone networks, some wearing hard hats and other protective headgear. Many of them streamed out of buildings in the business district, gathering in open areas. The crowd appeared spooked by the sound of glass windows rattling in tall buildings.
Services on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line, as well as on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen lines, were suspended. All services on the Tokyo Metro subway systems in the Tokyo metropolitan area were stopped.
Aftershocks were continuing, with one hitting magnitude 7.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Tall buildings swayed violently in central Tokyo as the aftershocks hit.
NHK Television reported that water could be seen rising over cars and pouring into warehouses at Onahama port in Fukushima Prefecture; in Iwate Prefecture a building was washed away, with boats and cars swirling around in the rising waters.