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Major M7.4 earthquake hits near the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan


A major earthquake registered by the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) as M7.4 hit near the coast of Fukushima Prefecture at 14:36 UTC (23:36 JTC) on March 16, 2022. The agency is reporting a depth of 60 km (37 miles). USGS is reporting M7.3 at a depth of 33 km (20 miles), EMSC M7.2 at a depth of 80 km (49 miles). The quake was preceded by M6.4 at 14:34 UTC at a depth of 56 km (35 miles).

The epicenter was located about 66 km (41 miles) ENE of Namie (population 21 866), Fukushima, and 96 km (59 miles) SE of Sendai (population 1 063 103), Miyagi, Japan.

There are about 1.8 million people living within 100 km (62 miles).

JMA has issued a Tsunami Advisory for the Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, with waves up to 1 m (3.3 feet) expected. A Tsunami Forecast is in effect for most of Japan’s eastern coastal areas.

Image credit: JMA

Image credit: TW/SAM

2 046 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 3 200 000 strong and 7 379 000 moderate.

The USGS issued a Green alert for shaking-related fatalities. There is a low likelihood of casualties.

A Yellow alert was issued for economic losses. Some damage is possible and the impact should be relatively localized. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of Japan. Past events with this alert level have required a local or regional level response.

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 heavy wood frame and reinforced/confined masonry construction.

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


The earthquake has left 4 people dead and more than 160 injured. (Mainichi)

The quake caused power outages in northeastern and eastern Japan, affecting a total of more than 2.2 million households, including some 700 000 in Tokyo. Power was later restored to most of the affected citizens.

The country’s nuclear regulator said data show no abnormalities with reactors and facilities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, although the cooling system for the spent fuel pools at the No. 2 and No. 5 reactors temporarily stopped. Cooling systems for spent fuel pools at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant and the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi were also affected before recovering.

A Tohoku Shinkansen bullet train derailed between Fukushima Station and Shiroishizao Station, but all 78 passengers and crew members aboard were unharmed, according to East Japan Railway Co.

Relatively small tsunami waves were observed at Ishinomaki port in Miyagi and other locations.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google

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  1. Marty Robbins El Passo ballad wordsmithed:

    Out in the East Prefecture of Fukushima
I worked at the Daiichi Nuclear plant
Night time would find me in the control room

    Turbines would hum and the gauges would whirl.
    Blue an bright where the fuel pools of Daiichi

Wicked and evil while casting their radiation spell

    The water was deep for these MOX fuel rods cooling
I was cautious, but in fear I could tell

    One day a wild Tsunami wave came rolling in
Wilder than any West Texas wind

Dashing and tearing, water it was sharing

    With the wicked Reactors that I controlled

    So in fear

I was challenged for my right to harness these reactors
Down went my hands to the control panel by my side

    My challenge was answered in less than a heartbeat

    Reactor rods lay melting on the containment vessel floor

For a moment I froze in fear silence

    Shocked what an evil criticality deed the tsunami had done
Many thoughts raced through my mind as I stood there

I had but one chance and that was to run
    Out through the back door of Daiichi I ran

Out where the cars were parked
I found a fast one
It looked like it could run

    Up on its seat and away I did drive
    Just as fast as I could

From the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan

    Out into the wasted lands of Tsunami debris

    Back in Daiichi my life would be worthless
Everything’s gone in life, nothing is left

It’s been not long since I’ve seen the blown up reactors
My heroism is stronger than my fear of death

    I gased up and back I did drive

    Driving alone in the dark

    Maybe tomorrow Plutonium may find me

    Tonight nothing’s worse than this Cesium pain in my heart

    And at last here I am

    On the hill overlooking Daiichi
I can see Corium’s black smoke below

    My stupidity is strong and it pushes me onward

    Down off the hill to the reactor control room I go
    Off to my right I see five big Earthquake cracks
Off to my left steam a dozen or more

Shouting and running I can’t let #4 fuel pool burn
I have to make it to Daiichi water supply

    Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel

    A deep burning pain in my side

Though I am trying to fill up the fuel pool
I’m getting weary, unable to hang on

    But my love for Japan is strong
And I rise where I’ve fallen

Though I am weary I can’t stop to rest
    I see puff’s of smoke from the containment vessel

I feel the Plutonium go deep in my chest
    From out of nowhere Strontium 90 has found me
Entering my bones as I kneel by the water supply

Cradled by two water pumps that I’de die for
There’s only one drop of water , hu…manity…good…bye

  2. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the natural disasters that will hit the earth this year. Earthquakes with far greater magnitude will become the norm in the coming a few months. Moreover, many volcanoes including Yellowstone Supervolcano will start erupting without warning. However, I had wrote many posts warning that Japanese nuclear power plants pose serious threat and not only to Japan but also to the world as a whole.

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