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Magnitude-6.9 earthquake rocks Japan, prompts brief tsunami warning

UPDATED: Sat., March 20, 2021

By Takehiko Kambayashi dpa

A magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck northeastern Japan on Saturday, prompting authorities to issue a tsunami warning for the Miyagi prefecture.

The warning was later lifted, and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to property.

The Japan Meteorological Agency revised down the magnitude from the initial reading of 7.2.

The agency had warned of up to a 3-foot high tsunami in Miyagi, and the first tsunami wave apparently swept ashore in the city of Ishinomaki, according to broadcaster NHK.

Miyagi prefecture ordered nearly 9,000 residents to evacuate from their homes. The order was later canceled.

The tsunami warning led some residents in Miyagi to rush to higher ground ahead of the possible arrival of tsunami, NHK footage showed.

No abnormalities were reported at nuclear power plants in the region, including the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The seismic center of the quake that rattled the region at 6:09 pm (0909 GMT) was off Miyagi at a depth of 36 miles, according to the agency.

It was considered to be one of the aftershocks of the 2011 quake that struck the same region, the agency said.

Japan just marked the 10th anniversary of amagnitude-9 quake and resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011, which left about 18,400 dead or missing.

The twin natural disasters caused a triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant, which spewed radioactive substances into the environment. The nuclear emergency prompted hundreds of thousands of residents to flee their homes.

Just a month ago, a magnitude-7.3 quake also rocked the northeast, killing one and injuring 190Japan sits at the convergence of four tectonic plates, making it especially prone to seismic activity. The country is also home to 100 active volcanoes..

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