Major Earthquake Hits Off Japan's Coast

By NPR Staff and Wires

Apr. 7, 2011

TOKYO — Japan was hit by a strong earthquake and tsunami warning Thursday night nearly a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami flattened the northeastern coast.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for a wave of up to two meters. The warning was issued for a coastal area already torn apart by last month's tsunami.

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

There were no immediate reports of damage, NPR's Greg Dixon reported from Tokyo.

He said Japanese broadcaster NHK is reporting that it hit the Tohoku region in northern Japan — the same region that was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami last month. The broadcaster was imploring people on the coast to get to higher ground.

"In Tokyo, it shook for about two minutes," Dixon said.

U.S. Geological Survey gave the preliminary magnitude as 7.4, and it struck off the eastern coast 60 miles from Sendai and 90 miles from Fukushima. It was about 215 miles from Tokyo.

The depth was 25 miles. 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.

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