Last updated: 09:04 PM ET, Sun May 31 2015

Japan Rattled By Two Earthquakes

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | May 31, 2015

Japan Rattled By Two Earthquakes

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Things are returning to normal across Japan after twin earthquakes struck deep below the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles off the coast. There was plenty of swaying and shaking, but no tsunami warning or significant damage or injuries, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey told the AP the first was a magnitude-7.8 quake, which struck off the Ogasawara islands Saturday night 421 miles below the surface. The second was a magnitude-6.4 that occurred Sunday morning at a depth of 8 miles off Japan’s Izu islands, north of the Ogasawaras. The epicenter of the second quake was 390 miles southeast of Tokyo. John Bellini, a USGS geophysicist in Golden, Colorado told the AP that Sunday’s temblor has been designated as a separate event, and not an aftershock from Saturday’s quake.

According to the AP, Saturday night’s seismic event shook most of Japan, from the Okinawa to the south to Hokkaido up north. Buildings swayed in Tokyo, around 620 miles north of the Ogasawara islands, and some train services was temporarily halted in the city. About 400 homes in Saitama prefecture, just north of the capital, were without power, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency put the number of injured at 12, they sustained burns, cuts, bruises, and falls.

At Tokyo's towering Roppongi Hills shopping and business complex, elevators stopped, forcing hundreds to use the stairs. Of those visitors, 200 had come for the Star Wars exhibit on the 52nd floor.

At an inn on the Ogasawara island of Hahajima, near the epicenter of the first quake, furniture shook violently, although nothing fell or broke, innkeeper Michiko Orita told Japan broadcasting organization NHK. "It was so frightening. The entire house shook and a Buddhist altar violently swayed like I have never experienced before," she said, but she did say all her guests were OK.

Japan, located in a very seismically active area, dodged a bullet with these events. A magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck the northeastern part of the country in March 2011, setting off a tsunami that killed more than 18,500 people and devastated a huge swath of the northern Pacific coast. The depth of that quake was just 15 miles, according to the meteorological agency.

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