Japan Rocked by Two Large Quakes In Two Days
In the same week that a deadly 6.5 earthquake rocked Japan’s Kyushu Island, another major quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.1, rocked the nearby city of Kumamoto.
The first quake on Thursday, April 14, on Kyushu Island killed nine people. The second quake in Kumamoto is expected to have also done major damage due to its shallow depth – just 10 kilometers -- and epicenter below a major population center.
Nine people died in Thursday’s quake, which struck at 9:26 p.m. and more than 800 were injured. The temblor sparked fires in the area and toppled many structures as the shaking didn’t subside for more than 30 seconds.
According to the U.S. Geological Society, the tremor occurred at a depth of 6.2 miles. The quake's epicenter was in Kumamoto prefecture, 4.3 miles southwest of Ueki and about 800 miles southwest of Tokyo. Much of the major damage was in Mashiki, nine miles east of Kumamoto City.
Yuichiro Yoshikado told the Associated Press (AP) that all the water splashed out of his bathtub.
"I grabbed onto the sides of the bathtub, but the water in the tub, it was about 70 percent filled with water, was going like this," he said, waving his arms, "and all the water splashed out,” he said. "It's as if all control was lost. I thought I was going to die and I couldn't bear it any longer."
On Saturday morning, April 16, at 1:25 a.m., a larger earthquake rocked the same region. The 7.1 quake is 16 times stronger than the early 6.2 foreshock. There have been reports of more collapsed buildings and of people trapped.
"Extensive damage is probable and the disaster is likely widespread," said USGS.
It is not immediately clear if the second quake has increased the death toll.
According to the Associated Press, no abnormalities were found at the Sendai nuclear plant, where the only two of Japan's 43 operable reactors are online.
More by Janeen Christoff
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