Strong earthquake prompts tsunami threat message in Caribbean, Mexico

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Strong earthquake prompts tsunami threat message in Caribbean, Mexico

(CNN)The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves were possible for several countries in the Caribbean and Central America, as well as Mexico, after a magnitude-7.6 earthquake struck 27 miles off the coast of Honduras.

“Tsunami waves reaching 0.3 to 1 meters above the tide level are possible for some coasts of Belize, Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica,” the agency said.
The earthquake was 44 kilometers east of Great Swan Island, Honduras, the US Geological Survey said.

Magnitude 7.8 quake between Russia and Alaska

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC AND REUTERS)

Magnitude 7.8 quake between Russia and Alaska to cause tsunami waves: US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

2 Hours Ago

A view of the southern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Yuri Smityuk | TASS | Getty Images
A view of the southern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Monday evening that a magnitude 7.8 earthquake had occurred off the coast of Russia’sKamchatka Peninsula.

“Based on preliminary earthquake parameters… hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300 km (186 miles) of the earthquake epicenter,” the center wrote in an official message.

Tsunami waves, however, were unlikely to reach Kamchatka’s eastern coast, some 500 km (310 miles) away.

The quake was followed by several aftershocks, including a couple above magnitude 5.0.

The earthquake was originally reported as a 7.4 magnitude, but it was subsequently upgraded to 7.8.

On Twitter, the center confirmed that it was not expecting tsunami conditions to impact North American coasts.

Tsunami Info Stmt: M7.4 140mi SE Bering I., Komandorski 1634PDT Jul 17: Tsunami NOT expected; CA,OR,WA,BC,and AK

7:43 PM – 17 Jul 2017

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

—Reuters contributed to this report.

Tsunami hits Japan after 7.4 quake, Fukushima nuclear plant ops affected

(THIS ARTICLE IS FROM THE HINDUSTAN TIMES NEWS PAPER)

Tsunami hits Japan after 7.4 quake, Fukushima nuclear plant ops affected

  • Reuters, Tokyo
  • |

  • Updated: Nov 22, 2016 07:25 IST
Passengers crowd at Sendai Station in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan on Tuesday after train services are suspended following an earthquake. Coastal residents in Japan were ordered to flee to higher ground on Tuesday after a strong earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima prefecture. (AP Photo)

A powerful earthquake rocked northern Japan on Tuesday, briefly disrupting cooling functions at a nuclear plant and generating a tsunami that hit the same region devastated by a massive quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in 2011.

The earthquake, which was felt in Tokyo, had a magnitude of 7.4, the Japan Meteorological Service said, and was centred off the coast of Fukushima prefecture at a depth of about 10km.

There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries several hours after the quake hit at 5:59 am (2059 GMT Monday).

A tsunami of up to 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) had been observed around Sendai, about 70km north of Fukushima, with smaller waves hitting ports elsewhere along the coast, public broadcaster NHK said.

Television footage showed ships moving out to sea from harbours as tsunami warning signals wailed, after warnings of waves of up to 3 metres (10 feet) were issued.

“We saw high waves but nothing that went over the tidal barriers,” a man in the city of Iwaki told NTV television network.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said the tsunami threat had now largely passed.

“Sea level fluctuations may continue along some coasts of Japan over the next few hours,” it said.

The US Geological Survey measured Tuesday’s quake at magnitude 6.9, down from an initial 7.3.

All Japan’s nuclear power plants on the coast threatened by the tsunami are shut down in the wake of the March 2011 disaster, which knocked out Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, spilling radiation into the air and sea.

A spokesperson for Tokyo Electric Power, known as Tepco, said the cooling system for a storage pool for spent nuclear fuel at the reactor at its Fukushima Daini Plant had been halted. A spokesman said the cooling system had restarted soon after.

No other damage from the quake has been confirmed at any of its power plants, although there have been blackouts in some areas, the spokesperson said.

Only two reactors are operating in Japan, both in the southwest. Even when in shutdown, nuclear plants need cooling systems operating to keep spent fuel cool.

Tohoku Electric Power Co <9506.T> said there was no damage to its Onagawa nuclear plant, while the Kyodo news agency reported there were no irregularities at the Tokai Daini nuclear plant in Ibaraki prefecture.

An aerial view shows Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant in Naraha town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo on Tuesday. (Reuters via Kyodo)

Coast evacuated

One woman suffered cuts to her head from falling dishes, Kyodo news agency reported, citing fire department officials. Japanese Minister for Disaster Management Jun Matsumoto told reporters about three hours after the quake that there had been no reports of significant injuries so far.

NHK showed footage of residents of Ishinomaki, a city badly hit in 2011, standing on a hill dressed in hats and heavy coats, staring down at the ocean. Several thousand people along the coast evacuated or were told to evacuate.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Japan accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

The March 11, 2011, quake was magnitude 9, the strongest quake in Japan on record. The massive tsunami it triggered caused the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.

Nissan Motor Co said it would suspend work at its engine factory in Fukushima at least until the latest tsunami warning was lifted. A spokesman said there were no injuries or damage at the plant, which was badly damaged in the 2011 disaster.

Separately, Toyota Motor Corp said all its factories in northeastern Japan were operating as usual.

An Iwaki city fire department official said there was smoke or fire at Kureha’s research centre in a petrochemical complex in Iwaki city at 6:17 am (2117 GMT Monday) but it was extinguished soon after. Other details were not clear, he said, but no other major damage had been reported in the city so far.

Japan’s famous Shinkansen bullet trains were halted along one stretch of track and some other train lines were also stopped.

One hotel in Ofunato, also badly hit by the 2011 quake, initially told guests to stay in the facility but later bussed them to higher ground.

Japanese financial markets were little affected, with Nikkei futures <NKc1> recovering after a brief fall and the yen up a touch against the US dollar, although still near a five-month low hit earlier in the session.

7.8 Quake Jolts New Zealand

 

At Least Two Dead, Tsunami Warning Issued After New Zealand Rocked by Strong Earthquake

Magnitude-7.8 quake struck near Christchurch, prompting warnings of 16-foot waves on parts of country’s east coast

Firefighters gather in Wellington, New Zealand, after a powerful earthquake struck the country’s South Island, northeast of Christchurch, just after midnight Sunday.ENLARGE
Firefighters gather in Wellington, New Zealand, after a powerful earthquake struck the country’s South Island, northeast of Christchurch, just after midnight Sunday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

At least two people died when a powerful earthquake struck New Zealand near the city of Christchurch, causing strong jolts felt more than 120 miles away and prompting a tsunami threat along the country’s east coast.

The quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey initially recorded as magnitude 7.4 but later raised to 7.8, struck just after midnight Sunday and was centered 93 kilometers (57 miles) northeast of Christchurch, on the country’s South Island.

Pacific Ocean

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said at least two people were killed, but provided no details at a news conference Monday morning in Wellington, the capital.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management said on its verified Twitter account that a tsunami threat covered all of New Zealand’s east coast, including Christchurch, Wellington and the Chatham Islands, and urged people in those areas to move to high ground or go inland.

The agency later said the first wave had arrived on the northeastern coast of the South Island, but didn’t say how tall it was. “The first wave may not be the largest. Waves may continue for several hours,” MCDEM said on Twitter. At 6.09 a.m. local time, the tsunami threat was downgraded for much of the east coast, although the agency continued to warn of unusually strong currents and unpredictable flows of water close to shore.

The USGS said the quake was at a depth of 23 kilometers. The quake was followed by a number of strong aftershocks.

New Zealand Police said one casualty had been reported at a collapsed property in Kaikoura, a coastal town on the country’s South Island. “Police are also trying to access a property at Mt Lyford, north of Christchurch, where a further casualty has been reported, which is believed to be a fatality,” it said.

In Wellington, 214 kilometers north of the quake’s epicenter, people were urged not to travel into the city as train and ferry services were suspended and some roads could be blocked. However, the city’s airport remained open following an inspection of the runway.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had just completed a visit to New Zealand, leaving for Oman hours before the earthquake struck.

New Zealand is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Ocean prone to seismic upheaval. In 2011, a 6.3-magnitude quake killed 185 people in Christchurch—most because of building failures—triggering a nationwide clampdown on unsafe properties.

When the latest quake hit, Christchurch resident Hannah Gin had just sat down in her living room to watch a replay of the recent All Blacks versus Italy rugby union match when her house started shaking, she told the Associated Press. Upstairs, her mother let out a scream.

Ms. Gin, a 24-year-old lifelong Christchurch resident, is accustomed to quakes, so she said she sat calmly and waited, figuring the rumbling would stop in a few seconds. Instead, the shaking just went on and on—for at least three minutes, according to the clock on her phone, she told AP by phone.

The quake was far less violent than the one that struck her city in 2011, she said, adding that there was no jarring up and down or side to side, just a long, rolling sensation. But it went on for much longer than the typical quakes that strike the area, she said.

“I could hear the sliding door sliding back and forth and we’ve got washing hanging up and I could see the washing moving,” Ms. Gin told AP. “It just kept going and going.” Her house, which was damaged in the 2011 quake, didn’t appear to have sustained any damage from the latest quake, she said.

The quake also knocked out New Zealand’s emergency call number, 111, for about 10 minutes, the AP reported, citing police.

Evacuated hotel guests stay warm in a car park in Wellington early Monday, after the earthquake struck.ENLARGE
Evacuated hotel guests stay warm in a car park in Wellington early Monday, after the earthquake struck. PHOTO:GETTY IMAGES

Stephen Horrell runs a bed and breakfast five minutes outside of Kaikoura, 180 kilometers north of Christchurch, where much of the worst damage was reported.

He was asleep on the third floor of his establishment when the quake struck.

“There was a big jolt and there was rolling, he said. “It was so strong that when I tried to get out of bed it just rolled you over. It was impossible to stand.

“We just started grabbing stuff. Blankets, some food, our phones. But there was no power and so no light. It’s amazing what you can’t find when there is absolutely no light.”

Mr. Horrell and some of his neighbors drove up a hill near the property and waited until sunrise before moving on.

In Wellington, 214 kilometers north of the quake’s epicenter, power was knocked out in some places, and some windows were smashed and some chimneys collapsed, the AP reported. It caused items to fall from shelves and windows to break in Wellington, and forced hundreds of people on to the streets as hotels were evacuated, AP said.

“You couldn’t really stand up, you just had to force yourself up from the carpet and try to move along to get hold of the doorway,” said Christine Hay, who runs the Bella Vista Motel in Wellington, a few minutes’ drive from the central business district. Three of the motel’s 16 units were unlet prior to the quake, but quickly filled with guests who had fled high-rise accommodation closer to the city, she said.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said there was no tsunami threat to the country.

Write to David Winning at [email protected] and Lucy Craymer at WSJ