7.4 earthquake strikes Bonin Islands in Japan

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) a magnitude 7.4 earthquake has struck the Bonin Islands in Japan. Japanese officials have issued a tsunami warning for areas around the islands, including the southern half of the country. A number of aftershocks with magnitudes between five and six struck over the hour following the initial earthquake.

"Evacuate from the seashore immediately to the safe places near the above coasts," said the tsunami warning issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says there is no threat of a tsunami for Hawaii or the rest of the Pacific Ocean.

The quake's epicenter was located approximately 155 kilometers (95 miles) east of Chichi-shima of the Bonin Islands. It occurred just after 3:15 a.m. local time and registered a depth of 14.9 k.m. (9.3 miles). The aftershock occurred just under 20 minutes later at 3:40 a.m. local time. It was located in the same area and registered a depth of 10 k.m. (6.2 miles).

There is no word on damages at this time, but according to the USGS around 2,000 people may have felt the shaking. It also noted that, "the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though some vulnerable structures exist."