Earthquake hits off coast near Fukushima, tsunami threat passes - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Earthquake hits off coast near Fukushima, tsunami threat passes

A map of Japan showing where the earthquake hit and where the tsunami warnings are along the coast. (Source: Japan Meteorological Agency) A map of Japan showing where the earthquake hit and where the tsunami warnings are along the coast. (Source: Japan Meteorological Agency)

(RNN) - An earthquake has hit off the coast of Japan near Fukushima Prefecture and small tsunami waves have been reported.

The waves have been four feet or less in height, according to Japanese weather reports and the National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The center adds that the tsunami threat has passed.  

The quake hit early Tuesday about 50 kilometers offshore, and tsunamis estimated at 1 to 3 meters were expected to hit, according to the Japanese Meteorological Society. A tsunami is a series of waves that can be from five minutes to an hour apart.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center for Weather.gov said the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. The depth was 10 kilometers or 6 miles, which is shallow for an earthquake.

Three people were injured, according to CNN.  CNN reported a 5.4-magnitude aftershock occurred shortly thereafter.

The Center warns that hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 km of the quake's epicenter.

The Japanese Meteorological Society said later Tuesday that the quake was an aftershock of the earthquake that triggered the deadly tsunami in 2011.   

A video was posted to Twitter of alarms going off along the coastline.

The areas likely to be affected are Katsuura Japan and Niigata Japan. There is no threat to Hawaii.

The quake is in the vicinity where a 9.1 earthquake struck in 2011 that caused widespread damage and flooding, and triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. That quake was the most powerful to ever hit Japan.

The death toll was more than 15,000 dead, more than 6,000 injured and more than 2,500 were missing.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in South Island, New Zealand, produced a tsunami on Nov. 13. The aftermath of the quake killed two people and prompted the evacuation of more than 700 people. The evacuation was carried out through the sky and sea, as helicopters and ships moved people away from danger.

The USS Sampson, the first U.S. warship to visit New Zealand in 30 years, helped the evacuation efforts. It was already scheduled to arrive in Auckland on Wednesday. 

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