Large Earthquake Strikes Off Eastern Japan, No Major Damage Reported

A powerful earthquake has struck off the east coast of Japan, measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale, but occurring 370 miles underground, sparing Japan the same kind of damage caused in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, according to NBC News. No tsunami warning has been issued or major damage reported.

NBC News reports that the quake was powerful enough to be felt in Tokyo, 620 miles away from the Earthquake’s epicenter near the Ogasawara islands. BBC News reports that the earthquake struck at 18:30 local time on Saturday and caused the capital’s buildings to shake for close to a minute and also disrupted train services.

Only two injuries have been reported, with one woman being injured by a plate falling out of a cupboard and hitting her, and the other, a man who fell during the earthquake, according to reports by the Associated Press.

Even in the Ogasawara islands themselves, the earthquake shook buildings, but no fatalities or major damage has been reported. The L.A. Times quoted an Innkeeper on the island of Hahajima, Michiko Orita, speaking to national broadcaster NHK.

“It was so frightening. The entire house shook and a Buddhist altar violently swayed like I have never experienced before.”

India Today reports that tremors were also felt in Delhi on Saturday, but it is unknown whether they are related to the earthquake off Japan.

Naoki Hirata, an expert in earthquakes at the University of Tokyo, is quoted by Reuters as telling Japan’s national broadcaster NHK that it was fortunate the earthquake occurred so far below the earth’s surface.

“Since it was magnitude 8.5 this was a very big quake, but fortunately it was very deep at 590 km.” He added “Fortunately, because it was deep, there is little danger of a tsunami.”

The earthquake brings reminders of the devastating 9.0 magnitude quake which struck off eastern Japan in 2011, killing nearly 16,000 people and spawning a huge tsunami. The tsunami in 2011 also caused damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant, causing the largest nuclear incident since Chernobyl. According to Reuters, no further problems have been reported at the plant as a result of the latest quake.

Reports on the strength and depth of the earthquake are conflicting. The Japanese meteorological survey reports a magnitude of 8.5 and a depth of 370 miles, with the U.S. Geological Survey reporting a magnitude of 7.8 and a depth of 421 miles. The Earthquake isn’t the only natural disaster to strike Japan – just yesterday Mount Shindake on the island of Kuchinoerabu erupted, causing the island’s 137 residents to evacuate, as reported in the Inquisitr.

[Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]