6.1 magnitude earthquake strikes off Japan’s east coast

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 September, 2017, 1:45am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 September, 2017, 5:11pm

A magnitude 6.1 quake hit off the east coast of Japan early on Thursday but authorities did not issue a tsunami warning.

It struck 281 kilometres east of the city of Kamaishi on Honshu, the largest Japanese island, at a shallow depth of just 10 kilometres, the United States Geological Survey said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said no tsunami warning was in effect and the USGS said only weak shaking would have been felt on Honshu and the risk of damage was likely to be minor.

Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year.

But rigid building codes and strict enforcement of them mean even strong tremors typically do little damage.

A massive undersea quake that hit in March 2011 sent a tsunami crashing into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

It was the world’s worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986. The company Tokyo Electric is trying to clean up and dismantle the reactors in a process expected to last decades.

On the other side of the world, hundreds of people have died in a pair of tremors which hit Mexico in the month of September 2017.

Elsewhere in the Pacific, a strong earthquake of magnitude 6.4 struck Vanuatu’s Erromango island on Thursday, the USGS said.

It said the quake struck the centre of the island, Vanuatu’s fourth largest and was fairly deep at 200 kilometres, which would have dampened its effect.

Erromango has a population of just under 2,000 people.

The Vanuatu archipelago, east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean, is in the so-called Ring of Fire and is prone to earthquakes.