Major Quake, Northern Japan

A major earthquake struck off the coast of northern Japan just after midday today, New Zealand time.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports the quake, which struck at 12:21 p.m. on Thursday the 11th of September 2008, as magnitude 6.9 located 125 km south-south-west of Kushiro, Hokkaido (225 km south-south-east of Asahikawa, Hokkaido; 225 km east-south-east of Sapporo, Hokkaido) at a depth of 35 km. The undersea quake was located about 50 km off-shore near Cape Erima on the southern coast of Hokkaido.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a bulletin for the event at 1235, reporting the quake at magnitude 7.0 at a depth of 33 km. They advise that a widespread tsunami threat did not exist, based on historical data.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami warnings for nearby coasts, but these were withdrawn after initial waves up to 10 cm in height were recorded.

Geoscience Australia which also lists the quake at magnitude 6.9 but at the shallower depth of 10 km, estimates that the quake would have caused damage within 90 km of the epicentre and would have been felt up to 1100 km away.

Aftershocks of magnitude 5.4 were recorded at 12:32 and 5.0 at 1:08 p.m. New Zealand time.

[Compiled from data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and its contributing agencies, the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, Geoscience Australia, and the Japan Meteorological Agency.]

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