Earthquake of magnitude 7.4 strikes Japan, tsunami warning issued

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6 hit north central Japan on Monday (January 1, 2024). Tsunami of up to 5m high are believed to be reaching Noto in Ishikawa Prefecture. Waves more than 1m high hit the coast of Wajima City in Ishikawa Prefecture. Hokuriku Electric Power said it is checking for any irregularities at its nuclear power plants. An earthquake of magnitude 7.6 hit Japan, prompting authorities to issue a tsunami warning.

Reports of damage were not immediately available. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning along the coastal regions of Ishikawa, Niigata, and Toyama prefectures after a series of strong quakes shook western areas. The Japan Meterological Agency reported a quake hitting Ishikawa and nearby prefectures, one of them measuring a preliminary magnitude of 7.4.

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.4 hit north central Japan on Monday. Japan issued tsunami alerts Monday after a series of strong earthquakes shook western areas. It issued a major tsunami warning for Ishikawa and lower-level tsunami warnings or advisories for the rest of the northwestern coast of the island of Honshu. Japanese public broadcaster NHK TV warned torrents of water could reach as high as 5 meters (16.5 feet) and urged people to flee to high land or a top of a nearby building as quickly as possible.

A powerful earthquake measuring a 7 on the Japanese scale — the strongest on the scale — rocked central Japan on Monday, prompting a tsunami warning for a broad swath of the country’s western coast.

The earthquake, which struck on New Year’s Day, was felt in Tokyo and across the Kanto area. An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 on the Richter Scale jolted Japan’s Kuril Islands on Thursday (December 28, 3023), the National Centre for Seismology (NCS) said. According to NCS, the earthquake occurred at 2:45 pm (IST) at a depth of 10 kilometers. The NCS said the epicentre of the earthquake was found to be at latitude of 44.36 and longitude of 149.23, Kuril Islands, Japan.

No casualties have been reported as of yet. Further details are awaited. No immediate reports of damage or injuries. A magnitude-5.0 earthquake occurred in the Pacific Ocean east of Honshu Island at around 23:04 (December 21, 2023). The epicenter was about 61 km (38 miles) south-southeast of Hasaki, Ibaraki Prefecture. The tremor occurred at a depth of about 10 km (6 miles), and light shaking was probably felt throughout parts of eastern Honshu Island.

There have been no initial reports of damage or casualties as a result of the earthquake; however, significant damage is unlikely. It could take several hours until authorities can conduct comprehensive damage assessments, especially in remote areas. Light aftershocks are likely over the coming days. The event has not prompted any tsunami advisories. Officials may temporarily shut down transportation infrastructure in the tremor zone to check for damage.

Minor disruptions could occur during shutdowns, but service will likely resume quickly if no damage is found.

Utility outages are possible, particularly near the earthquake’s epicenter. In 2020, a long-dormant underwater volcano near Antarctica has woken up, triggering a swarm of 85,000 earthquakes. The swarm, which began in August 2020 and subsided by November of that year, is the strongest earthquake activity ever recorded in the region. And the quakes were likely caused by a “finger” of hot magma poking into the crust.

There have been similar intrusions in other places on Earth, but this is the first time it had been observed there. Normally, these processes occur over geologic time scales, as opposed to over the course of a human life span. The swarm occurred around the Orca Seamount, an inactive volcano that rises 2,950 feet (900 meters) from the seafloor in the Bransfield Strait, a narrow passage between the South Shetland Islands and the northwestern tip of Antarctica.