20 Mar 2021: Powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake jolts northeastern Japan; tsunami advisory issued
A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.2 on Saturday struck off the coast of northeastern Japan that also triggered a tsunami warning for the country's northeast coast.
The quake reportedly hit at around 6:10 pm (local time) off the coast of the Miyagi Prefecture. Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that a tsunami of around one meter was expected for the Miyagi region.
Epicenter: Epicenter was 34km east of Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture: USGS
The strong earthquake has reportedly been felt in the Japanese capital of Tokyo where buildings were seen shaking. However, there have been no immediate reports of damage.
Putting the strength of the quake at magnitude 7.2, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said that the epicenter was about 34km east of the Ishinomaki city of Miyagi Prefecture and at a depth of 60km.
Tsunami advisory: Japan Meteorological Agency issued tsunami advisory
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued an advisory for tsunami waves of around one meter for Miyagi.
Meanwhile, NHK warned people to stay off the shores in the region, saying, "It is dangerous in the sea or near the coast... The tide will continue to be fast, so please do not enter the sea or approach the coast until the warning is cleared."
Details: No irregularities reported at Fukushima, Onagawa nuclear power facilities
While some areas in Miyagi Prefecture reported power outages, there were no immediate reports of damage in the region. Local utilities were reportedly inspecting the status of nuclear power plants there.
Also, no irregularities were found at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant, and Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant. However, NHK reported that Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train services were halted.
2011 quake: Quake comes days after 10-year anniversary of 2011 earthquake, tsunami
The Saturday quake comes just days after the 10-year anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that affected the Tohoku region of the country's Honshu island, leaving around 19,000 people dead or missing.
To recall, just a month ago, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the country's Fukushima Prefecture that was reportedly an aftershock of the deadly 2011 earthquake.
Frequent quakes: Japan sits on Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean
Japan is situated within the Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean due to which the country is frequently rocked by earthquakes.
The Ring of Fire, an earthquake-prone zone with intense seismic activity, stretches from islands in the South Pacific region to Indonesia and Japan, across to Alaska, and also down the west coasts of North and South Americas.
Explanation: USGS explains what the 'Ring of Fire' exactly is
"Most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions do not strike randomly but occur in specific areas, such as along plate boundaries," says the USGS on its website.
"One such area is the circum-Pacific Ring of Fire, where the Pacific Plate meets many surrounding tectonic plates. The Ring of Fire is the most seismically and volcanically active zone in the world," it further explains.