Volcanic Japanese Island Hit by Series of Quakes

April 18, 2013

A strong earthquake and about 20 smaller temblors struck a small volcanic island south of Tokyo on Wednesday, slightly injuring three people but causing no danger of a tsunami.

The strongest quake had a magnitude of 6.2 and hit just off Miyake island Wednesday evening at a depth of 20 kilometers (12 miles), Japan’s Meteorological Agency said. About 20 smaller temblors, half of them strong enough to be felt by humans, were recorded in the area throughout the day.

Tokyo police said the strongest quake left three people with minor injuries. A man in his 40s suffered cuts from broken pieces of glass, and two elderly people at a nursing home sustained bruises from falling. The magnitude-6.2 quake also knocked down a concrete wall at a house and triggered several small landslides around the island, police said.

“We’ve had moderate shakings repeatedly since this morning, and the one in the evening was surprisingly strong. Some things fell to the floor,” said Miyake village official Naonobu Hayakawa.

The Meteorological Agency said it detected no significant elevation in the island’s volcanic activity and that there was no danger of a tsunami.

The volcano, located 180 kilometers (110 miles) south of Tokyo, most recently erupted in 2000, forcing all 3,000 of the island’s residents to evacuate for five years.

A magnitude-5.8 quake struck Wednesday night off the coast of Miyagi in northern Japan, shaking large parts of the area devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the quake in the north. No abnormalities were reported at nuclear power plants in the region, including the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, public broadcaster NHK said.

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