Very strong and shallow M6.7 earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan


A very strong and shallow earthquake registered by the JMA as M6.7 hit southern Hokkaido, Japan at 18:07 UTC on September 5, 2018 (03:07 JST, September 6). The agency is reporting a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles). USGS is reporting M6.6 at a depth of 31 km (19.2 miles).

According to the USGS, the epicenter was located 31.4 km (19.5 miles) ESE of Chitose (population 92 942), 33.3 km (20.7 miles) ENE of Tomakomai (population 174 806), 46.8 km (29.1 miles) SE of Kitahiroshima (population 62 370), 50.6 km (31.5 miles) NW of Shizunai-furukawachō (population 22 436) and 66.9 km (51.6 miles) SE of Sapporo (population 1 883 027), Japan.

There are 3 400 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

Some 29 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 1 196 000 strong, 1 770 000 moderate, 3 240 000 light and 2 826 000 weak.

Although there may be slight sea-level changes in coastal regions/ this earthquake has caused no damage to Japan, JMA said.

The USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block and unreinforced brick with mud construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides and fires that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity


At least 4 people have died in the quake, officials in Hokkaido have confirmed September 6.

JMA says the earthquake measured 7 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, the strongest possible level.

Hokkaido Electric Power Company says it's turned a generator at one of its thermal power plants back on and will continue restoration work at other plants, NHK reports.

Aviation authorities canceled all flights at Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport. Local trains have stopped. Public bus services have shut down and many highways have closed. Schools are also closed for the day.

This report is being updated at the following link.

Featured image credit: USGS, EMSC


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