Sunday, April 24, 2011

Strong, shallow earthquake hits eastern Indonesia

AP – 58 minutes ago

A strong and shallow earthquake hit the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi early Monday, officials said. There were no immediate reports of injuries, but several homes were damaged.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the preliminary magnitude of the quake at 6.2 and said it was centered 45 miles (75 kilometers) southeast of the town of Kendari at a depth of 6 miles (9 kilometers).

Residents in the town said they felt the earth shaking violently beneath their feet.

Several houses were damaged, though it was not immediately clear how badly.

Indonesia is located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

6.9 magnitude quake hits off Solomon Islands

Posted: 23 April 2011 1307 2011 1307 hrs

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the earthquake hit at 3:16pm (0416 GMT) at a depth of 81 kilometres and centered 171 kilometres southeast of the capital Honiara.

Residents on the mainland said they felt a sharp jolt but emergency services said there was no immediate evidence of damage although reports were still being sought from outlying islands.

The Solomons lie in the "Pacific ring of fire", a highly active earthquake zone, and regularly experiences strong tremors.

- AFP/fa

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

6.6-quake hits off New Zealand

Posted: 18 April 2011 2207 hrs

WELLINGTON: A strong 6.6-magnitude undersea earthquake hit off the northeast coast of New Zealand on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a local tsunami warning but said there was no threat of a widespread destructive tsunami.

The quake struck at 1:03 am (1303 Monday GMT) around 550 kilometres (350 miles) east of Auckland, USGS said, with an epicentre 90 kilometres (55 miles) below the surface.

USGS had earlier measured the magnitude at 6.4.

The epicentre lay southwest of the Kermadec Islands, which lie around 1,000 kilometres northeast of New Zealand.

New Zealand sits on the so-called Pacific "ring of fire", a zone of frequent tectonic activity, and is often hit by earthquakes.

The country's second-largest city Christchurch was devastated by a 6.3-magnitude quake in February, which claimed 181 lives and followed a more powerful but less destructive 7.1 quake last September.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rare quake rocks Australia's Barrier Reef coast

Posted: 16 April 2011 1540 hrs

SYDNEY: Australia's Barrier Reef district was rocked by an unusual 5.2-magnitude earthquake Saturday, but laid-back locals said they had barely felt a thing.

The tremor struck about 3.30pm local time (0530 GMT) about 124 kilometres southeast of Townsville at a depth of 10 kilometres, according to the United States Geological Survey.

A low rumbling was felt at Magnetic Island, a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland and part of the Great Barrier Reef, according to a hotelier at the All Seasons resort, where it briefly interrupted a wedding on the beach.

"Some of the guests felt a bit of a shake, nothing much. It wasn't major, no-one fell over and nothing was damaged," she said.

"It was just like a shudder, my office backs onto the laundry and I said 'Oh, that was a big spin cycle.' It hasn't stopped the world up here.

"We are alive and well at the moment and please God that's how we are going to stay."

There were no immediate reports of damage and no tsunami alert was issued.

In Townsville, a tropical city renowned for its easygoing lifestyle, residents said they hadn't felt a thing.

"Look, we're pretty laid-back around here and it'd take something more than that to shake us up!" a publican at the local Molly Malone's Irish Bar told AFP.

"As far as I know there's been no sign of anything like that, no vibrations or nothing. Is this a practical joke?"

Australia rarely experiences earthquakes, its land mass being some distance from the boundary of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate.


Big aftershock rocks N. Zealand's quake-hit Christchurch

Posted: 16 April 2011 1508 hrs

WELLINGTON: A strong 5.2-magnitude aftershock rocked the quake-shattered New Zealand city of Christchurch Saturday and cut power to several areas, but there were no immediate reports of damage, officials said.

New Zealand's second largest city remains devastated following a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in February which claimed 181 lives, and followed a stronger, but less destructive 7.1 quake last September.

The latest tremor hit at 5:49pm (0549GMT) and was centred 16 kilometres (10 miles) west of the city at a depth of nine kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

Power was cut in several areas of the city, but Roger Sutton, chief executive of power company Orion, said this was because the substations had automatically shut down when the quake hit.

He said that electricity supplies would be restored within an hour as soon as checks were carried out.


Strong quake shakes buildings in Tokyo

Posted: 16 April 2011 1139 hrs

TOKYO: A strong earthquake of magnitude 5.8 hit central Japan on Saturday morning, the US Geological Survey said Saturday.

The quake, which shook buildings in Tokyo, struck at 11:19 am (0219 GMT), 83 kilometres (52 miles) north of the capital and at a depth of 20 kilometres, the USGS said.

Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said the tremor did not disrupt the emergency crews who are working around the clock to cool crippled reactors at a nuclear plant hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami last month.

That earthquake -- the biggest ever recorded in Japan -- struck on March 11, triggering a huge tsunami and leaving 13,591 people dead, with another 14,497 still unaccounted for.

Tens of thousands of people lost their homes, while many others were forced to evacuate after a series of explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sent radiation spewing into the air.

The radiation leaks have resulted in bans on produce from the affected area and hurt the fishing and farming industries because of public fears over
radioactivity in food.

On Friday, Japan's government ordered TEPCO to offer payouts to tens of thousands of people made homeless by the ongoing crisis.

The total cost from collapsed or damaged houses, factories and infrastructure such as roads and bridges is estimated to reach 16-25 trillion yen over the next three fiscal years, according to the Cabinet Office.

There were no immediate reports of any damage or casualties from Saturday's quake, which the Japan Meteorological Agency said had a magnitude of 5.9 and struck at a depth of 70 kilometres underground.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Strong earthquake rocks Tokyo

Posted: 12 April 2011 0723 hrs

TOKYO: A strong offshore earthquake rocked Tokyo on Tuesday, swaying buildings in the Japanese capital and stopping subway services.

The US Geological Agency put the magnitude at 6.4, at a depth of 13.1 kilometres (8.1 miles), 77 kilometres east of Tokyo. The Japan Meteorological Agency had measured it at 6.3.

The quake hit at 8:08 am (2308 GMT Monday) off the coast of Chiba prefecture, just east of the capital. Japanese experts said there was no chance of a tsunami.

There were no immediate reports of fresh damage, including at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which has been releasing dangerous radioactive materials since it was damaged by the March 11 tsunami, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Said.

Subway services in Tokyo temporarily stopped, but resumed operations shortly afterwards.

The runways of Narita international airport in the prefecture were temporarily closed for checks but had since reopened, Kyodo News said.

The limited shinkansen bullet train services running to the northern region since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami were briefly interrupted.

The latest quake was an aftershock "in a broad sense of the word" of the 9.0-magnitude quake of March 11 that killed more than 13,000 and left over 13,500 missing, Koshun Yamaoka, professor at Nagoya University, told public broadcaster NHK.

"We have to be aware of aftershocks, particularly in the first and second months after the original quake," he said.

Japan has experienced more than 400 aftershocks stronger than magnitude 5.0 since March 11.

- AFP/de/ac

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Powerful quake hits Japan, tsunami alert: TV

Posted: 07 April 2011 2258 hrs

TOKYO - A powerful earthquake hit northeastern Japan late Thursday, prompting a tsunami alert to be issued, according to a TV report.

The quake, which hit at 11:32 pm local time (1432 GMT), had a magnitude of 7.4, according to the US Geological Survey, which said it struck 66 kilometres (40 miles) east of Sendai.

Mexico hit by earthquake

Posted: 07 April 2011 2151 hrs

MEXICO CITY : An earthquake measuring 6.5 struck southern and central Mexico on Thursday, but there were no initial reports of damage or casualties, Mexican and US officials said.

The tremor was strong enough to shake buildings and restaurants hundreds of miles away in the capital Mexico City, residents said.

US experts said the quake hit the Veracruz region at 8:11 am (1311 GMT) some 57 kilometres (35 miles) from the city of Las Choapas. It was 167 kilometres (101 miles) deep.

The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.5 on the moment magnitude scale, and said the epicentre was almost 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of the capital.

No warning of a destructive tsunami was generated, the Pacific Tsunami Warning centre said in a statement.

The quake was especially felt in the southern state of Chiapas, which borders on Guatemala, an AFP correspondent reported.

In Mexico City - where memories of the magnitude 8.1 quake of September 19, 1985 that killed between 10,000 and 30,000 people remain fresh - restaurants and school buildings quickly emptied out.

"It was a strong one, and we have activated all the monitoring systems but have had no reports of damage or victims," said Elias Miguel Moreno, in charge of the Civil Protection office for Mexico City.

In Xalapa, the capital city of Veracruz, where earthquakes are not common, many people ran out into the streets, but there no early reports of damage or any injuries.

Thursday's quake is the strongest recorded so far this year in Mexico.

In October, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit the northwestern state of Baja California Sur, but caused only minor damage.

And in April 2010, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed two people and damaged thousands of homes in Baja California close to the US border.

- AFP/ms

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Earthquake strikes south Java

CILACAP, Indonesia: Hundreds of residents fled an Indonesian port town for higher ground on Monday when an earthquake struck south of Java with a magnitude estimated by US seismologists at 6.7.
Posted: 04 April 2011 0445 hrs

The epicentre in the Indian Ocean was 24 kilometres (15 miles) miles deep, the US Geological Survey said, after initially estimating it at 10 kilometres underground, and 277 kilometres south of the Javanese coast.

Indonesian seismologists put the magnitude at 7.1 and issued a tsunami warning, saying the tremor had the potential to cause a killer wave and asking recipients of its public alert SMS to warn others of the danger.

The warning was later cancelled.

When the quake struck hundreds of residents in the seaport town of Cilacap fled inland and to higher ground by motorbike, car and on foot, an AFP reporter said.

"They were all panicking and shouting 'quake, quake'," the reporter said.

Suharjono, the technical head of Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said shaking from the tremor had been felt in Pangandaran and Cilacap districts in Java.

"This quake roused people from their sleep," he said. "We have not received any reports of damage or casualties so far."

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre had said that there was no risk of a widespread destructive wave, but there was a "very small possibility of a local tsunami".

The earthquake epicentre was 241 kilometres from the remote Australian territory of Christmas Island, and seismologists said the tremor was felt there, but no tsunami warning alert was issued for Australia.

"We had reports from there that they felt it," Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepson told AFP, adding that it was described as a "moderate type quake".

Geoscience Australia put the quake at 6.7 magnitude.