No tsunamis after two major earthquakes strike islands near India and Japan

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Tsunami warnings were issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and later canceled after a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the Andaman Islands near India.

The quake struck 260 kilometers (160 miles) North of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands at approximately 1:55 a.m. local time with a depth of 33.1km (20.6 miles). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) says it's likely the quake was an aftershock to the deadly magnitude 9.1 earthquake in 2004 that triggered a massive tsunami killing nearly 230,000 people.

The warnings had applied to Myanmar, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The NOAA indicated the risk of a tsunami was 'moderate to high', but no waves were reported in any of the areas indicated in the warning.

"Sea level readings indicate that a significant tsunami was not generated. Therefore the tsunami watch issued by this center has been canceled," said the NOAA earlier in a statement on its website.

Minutes after the quake, at 2:07 a.m. Indian time, the USGS said a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck 31 kilometers (19 miles) south-southwest of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, with a depth of 26.8 km (16.7 miles). However, officials in Japan put the quake at a magnitude 6.6. A tsunami watch was also issued for the area and a short time later small, a two foot rise in sea level was reported in the Tsuruga Bay area. A 10 inch rise in sea level was also reported in Yaizu City.

As a precaution, Japanese officials have shut down at least two units, reactor No. 4 and 5 at the nuclear power facility in Hamaoka to perform a safety check. Alarms inside the plant indicated a possible radiation leak inside reactor 5, but officials say no radiation has been detected outside containment. According to Japan's Trade Ministry, both reactors shut down automatically after sensors detected the quake. Area trains have also been stopped. This was the second earthquake in Japan in two days, following an earlier one that measured 6.9 near Tokyo.

There are no reports of major damage with either quake. In Japan, some windows broke and roof tiles dislodged from roofs. Spokesman for the USGS, Paul Caruso, says both quakes appear to be unrelated. Minor injuries were reported in Japan due to falling objects, but there are no reports of any deaths. Singer, songwriter and actress Jessica Simpson, who flew to Japan over the weekend, is also safe after feeling the shaking.

"Thought I was hallucinating during a 6.6 earthquake in Japan. I have never felt anything like this in my life," said Simpson from via her Twitter account.

Indonesia has also seen an earthquake, a 5.7 magnitude that occurred 74km from Wewak at 1:46 a.m. local time on Monday.


Wikipedia Learn more about 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake on Wikipedia.