An earthquake of magnitude 7.3 hit the coast of Fukushima in Japan, which led authorities to stage a tsunami warning for waves of 10 feet high or less.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a subsequent earthquake occurred with a magnitude of 6.9, both events originating 6 miles deep beneath sea level. Tokyo perceived the events but no injuries or severe damages have been reported so far. Both of Japan’s nuclear plants, one residing in the Fukushima prefecture, appear to remain unharmed.
A reminder of the 2011 disastrous earthquake
As the earthquake occurred, people were warned to abandon the coast, seeing that in 2011 tsunamis occasioned by a 9.1 earthquake claimed thousands of lives. The seismic event caused a nuclear disaster in Fukushima’s largest nuclear power plant.
So far, warnings have been emitted only for Japan. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning with no action required:
“THE PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER HAS ISSUED A TSUNAMI THREAT
MESSAGE FOR OTHER PARTS OF THE PACIFIC LOCATED CLOSER TO THE
EARTHQUAKE. HOWEVER… BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA THERE IS NO
TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII. REPEAT. BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA
THERE IS NO TSUNAMI THREAT TO HAWAII,” wrote the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in a statement delivered to the islands of Hawaii.
After the 2011 earthquake, Japan has been on the watch for similar events. The earthquake that started on the coast of Tohoku was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to have hit Japan, and the fourth most powerful in the world since 1900. After the earthquake, tsunami waves reached over 100 feet high, taking down everything that was closer than 6 miles to the shoreline.
The earthquake was so tremendous that it moved the main island of Japan 8 feet to the east and shifted the Earth off its axis by about 5 inches.
It was named the “most difficult crisis for Japan” after the events of World War II. The earthquake also caused an unprecedented economic crisis, translating to over $30 billion in losses, being categorized as the most expensive natural disaster in world history.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued warnings to the whole Pacific ocean; even Russia had to evacuate thousands of residents from its islands. The warning reached U.S. soil, where California, Alaska, and Oregon were at risk of being hit by 8 feet waves.
There were so many casualties that Japan’s crematoriums were overflowing, seeing that many of these places were destroyed after the earthquake. The government had to resort to mass graves, many times dismissing any religious tradition.
Japan’s refineries caught on fire, some of them burning for over a week. Most of these structures halted production for safety and to avoid loss of power.
After the earthquake, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was unable to start its cooling system, which forced the evacuation of nearby residents. Reports suggest that the radiation levels were a thousand times higher than normal, and if an explosion occurred, it would have caused a disaster of nationwide proportions.