Two large earthquakes rattle Japan, Russia

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Two large earthquakes have shaken areas of Japan and Russia within 11 hours.

Before dawn on Thursday, at 0:26 local time, a strong earthquake jolted eastern Japan. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimated that its moment magnitude was at 6.8 and that its epicenter was 30 km (20 miles) east-northeast of Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, 485 km (300 miles) north-northeast of Tokyo, also where its tremor was observed.

Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency announced that as of Friday noon, 158 were confirmed injured, no one dead or missing, and 63 houses were confirmed partly destroyed. Government officials are en route to the area to assess further damage. According to Japan Meteorological Agency, this quake arose 108 km (65 miles) under the ground in the Pacific side of Iwate Prefecture. The focus must be inside the Pacific Plate which subducts the land plate. There was no fear of tsunami, and no major aftershock was observed by Thursday noon.

In Russia's Kuril Islands, which also felt the Japan's quake, there occurred another large earthquake on Thursday afternoon, at 14:43 local time. The USGS estimated its moment magnitude was at 6.4 and its epicenter was 240 km (150 miles) south-southwest of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy.

ITAR-TASS reported that there were no casualties or destruction or tsunami threat by Thursday evening.