Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Small Tsunami Triggers Small Damage and Big Memories

Magnitude-7.4 quake likely an aftershock from five years ago

The Asahi Shimbun  November 22, 2016

A tsunami rushes up the Sunaoshikawa river in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture, early on Nov. 22. (Provided by a reader)

The magnitude-7.4 earthquake that struck eastern Japan early Nov. 22 was almost certainly an aftershock from the massive temblor that hit the same region in 2011.

The latest offshore quake triggered tsunami along a vast stretch of Pacific coastline, causing the evacuation of around 9,000 residents.

Sendai Port reported the highest waves at 1.4 meters.

The Japan Meteorological Agency concluded the quake was likely an aftershock of the deadly 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake that triggered towering tsunami and a nuclear disaster.

Koji Nakamura, senior coordinator for seismological information at the JMA, warned of the likelihood of another "quake with a magnitude of 7 or so striking over the next week."

The focus of the quake that struck at 5:59 a.m. was believed to be off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture. It struck at a depth of only 25 kilometers.

Tsunami were recorded reaching six prefectures along the Pacific coast of the main Honshu island.

Although tsunami warnings and evacuation instructions were issued, there were reports of only minor injuries.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said that as of 10:40 a.m., it could confirm that 12 people were injured due to the quake.

Aftershocks from the 2011 quake with magnitudes of 7 or so have been recorded in the Tohoku region at a pace of about one a year, but the tsunami triggered this time was likely due to the comparatively large scale of the quake and the shallowness of the focus.

Rail services were also disrupted by the quake, with bullet train runs on the Tokaido, Tohoku, Joetsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines temporarily stopped for about 30 minutes. Services then resumed.

Tsunami waves cause fishing boats to capsize along the coast of Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, on Nov. 22. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

Tsunami waves flood sections of road near a fishing port in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, after a magnitude-7.4 quake struck early on Nov. 22. (Hironori Kato)

Firefighters call out to evacuees gathered at the Onahama Daini Elementary School in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, after a tsunami warning was issued Nov. 22. (Shiro Nishihata)

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