Magnitude 7.4 earthquake hits off Japan coast

The Japan met dept issued a tsunami warning after magnitude-7.4 quake rattled the nation.

Last Updated: Apr 07, 2011, 22:06 PM IST

Tokyo: Officials at Japan`s tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant say there`s no immediate sign of new problems after a magnitude-7.4 aftershock rattled the nation`s eastern coast.

A nuclear safety official says the workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant are safe but does not know if they have been evacuated.

The metereorological agency issued tsunami warnings and advisories for a stretch of more than 300 miles of the northeastern coast from Aomori prefecture in the north to Ibaraki prefecture in central Japan, just north of Tokyo.

Announcers on Japan`s public broadcaster NHK told coastal residents to run to higher ground and away from the shore.

The Japan meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for a wave of up to 6 feet (two meters). The warning was issued for a coastal area already torn apart by last month`s tsunami, which is believed to have killed some 25,000 people and has sparked an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant.

Officials say Thursday`s aftershock was a 7.4-magnitude and hit 25 miles (40 kilometers) under the water and off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. The quake that preceded last month`s tsunami was a 9.0-magnitude.

Buildings as far away as Tokyo shook for about a minute.

In Ichinoseki, inland from Japan`s eastern coast, buildings shook violently, knocking items from shelves and toppling furniture, but there was no heavy damage to the buildings themselves. Immediately after the quake, all power was cut. The city went dark, but cars drove around normally and people assembled in the streets despite the late hour.

US Geological Survey gave the preliminary magnitude as 7.4 and it struck off the eastern coast 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Sendai and 90 miles (140 kilometers) from Fukushima. It was about 215 miles (345 kilometers) from Tokyo.

The depth was 25 miles (40 kilometers). Shallower quakes tend to be more destructive.

Hundreds of aftershocks have shaken the northeast region devastated by the March 11 earthquake, but few have been stronger than 7.0.

A Pacific Tsunami Warning Center evaluation of the quake said an oceanwide tsunami was not expected.

Bureau Report