Powerful Quake Near Japan

Powerful Quake Near JapanPowerful Quake Near Japan

A powerful and extremely deep earthquake struck near remote Japanese islands and shook most of the country Saturday evening, but officials said there was no threat of a tsunami, and no injuries or damage were immediately reported.

The magnitude-8.5 offshore quake struck off the Ogasawara islands at a depth of 590 km, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said. The US Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.8 and a depth of 678 km, AP reported.

The temblor was powerful enough to rattle most of Japan, from the southern islands of Okinawa to Hokkaido in the north.

Buildings swayed in Tokyo, about 1,000 km north of the Ogasawara islands, and disrupted some train services in the city. About 400 houses in Saitama prefecture, just north of Tokyo, were without power, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Yoshiyuki Sasamoto, a municipal official on Chichijima Island, which is part of the Ogasawara island group, said he initially felt a mild tremor, but when he thought it was over “there was a violent shaking and I couldn’t even stand on my feet.”

The meteorological agency did not issue a tsunami warning because the quake struck beneath the earth’s surface.

Deep offshore earthquakes usually do not cause tsunamis, and generally cause less damage than shallow ones.

In March 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake rocked northeastern Japan, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 18,500 people and ravaged much of the northern Pacific coast. The depth of that quake was just 24 km, according to the meteorological agency.