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The 03/11/2011 earthquake (preliminary magnitude 8.9) near the east coast of Honshu, Japan, occurred as a result of thrust faulting on or near the subduction zone interface plate boundary between the Pacific and North America plates. At the latitude of this earthquake, the Pacific plate moves approximately westwards with respect to the North America plate at a velocity of 83 mm/yr. The Pacific plate thrusts underneath Japan at the Japan Trench, and dips to the west beneath Eurasia. The location, depth, and focal mechanism of the March 11 earthquake are consistent with the event having occurred as thrust faulting associated with subduction along this plate boundary. Note that some authors divide this region into several microplates that together define the relative motions between the larger Pacific, North America and Eurasia plates; these include the Okhotsk and Amur microplates that are respectively part of North America and Eurasia. (Source: US Geological Survey, www.usgs.gov)
The March 11 earthquake was preceded by a series of large foreshocks over the previous two days, beginning on March 9th with an M 7.2 event approximately 40 km from the March 11 earthquake, and continuing with a further 3 earthquakes greater than M 6 on the same day. (Source: US Geological Survey, www.usgs.gov)
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EWA BEACH (HawaiiNewsNow) -- A Tsunami Warning is now in effect for the state of Hawaii following an 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.
Scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach said that based on available data, a tsunami may have been generated by the quake. They said the earliest that tsunami waves could reach Hawaii would be at 3:07 a.m. Friday at Nawiliwili Harbor on Kauai. The first waves would reach Honolulu at 3:21 a.m., Kahului at 3:27 a.m., and Hilo at 3:46 a.m.
Tsunami sirens began sounding at 9:59 p.m. on Thursday. They have sounded every hour since 11:15 p.m.
The Tsunami Warning was extended to Guam and Taiwan as well, and the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center also issued a warning for much of the coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California. Sources are saying it's the worst earthquake ever to strike Japan. It sent people fleeing out of buildings in the capital.
The epicenter is just 231 miles from Tokyo, according to the United States Geological Survey. Floodwaters rattled buildings and sent cars into the rushing waves. Plus, the quake shook office buildings, sending papers flying, and workers struggling for balance. On Wednesday and Thursday, two quakes struck off the coast of Honshu. One was magnitude 6.3 and another 7.2. Neither caused significant damage. (Source: Hawaii News Now)
CNN footage of Tsunami striking Japanese coastline video
Emergency at Nuclear Power Plant
The cooling system fails at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. No radiation leaks, but the plant has shut down. TOKYO — Japan declared a state of emergency Friday at a nuclear power plant after its cooling system failed following a massive earthquake. There was no radiation leak. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the measure was a precaution and that the Fukushima No. 1 power plant was not in immediate danger. The plant has shut down. The plant experienced a mechanical failure in the system needed to cool the reactor after a power failure during Friday's earthquake. The reactor core remains hot and requires cooling after a shutdown. "We launched the measure so we can be fully prepared for the worst scenario," he said. "We are using all our might to deal with the situation." It was the first time Japan has declared a state of emergency at a nuclear power plant. Fukushima is just south of the worst-hit Miyagi prefecture, where a fire broke out at another nuclear plant. The blaze was in a turbine building at one of the Onagawa power plants; smoke could be seen coming out of the building, which is separate from the plant's reactor, Tohoku Electric Power Co. said. Another plant at Onagawa is experiencing a water leak. (source: Associated Press via http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/top/all/7468010.html)
(Reuters) - Japan started to evacuate thousands of residents from an area around a nuclear reactor after damage caused by a powerful earthquake raised fears of a radiation leak, although officials said there was no sign of leakage at present. The government declared an emergency situation as a precaution, saying a cooling system was not working. Work has begun work on restoring the cooling function at the reactor, Jiji news agency quoted the Trade Ministry as saying. Residents that live within a 3 km radius of Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been told to evacuate, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference. Kyodo news agency said 3,000 residents were being evacuated. (Reuters)
TEPCO confirmed that water levels inside the reactors at its Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant were falling but it was working to maintain water levels to avert the exposure of nuclear fuel rods. The company has been trying to restore power to its emergency power system so that it can add water inside the reactors, a TEPCO spokesman said. "There is a falling trend (in water levels) but we have not confirmed an exposure of nuclear fuel rods," a TEPCO spokesman said. TEPCO had been operating three out of six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant at the time of the quake, all of which -- the No.1, No.2 and No.3 units -- shut down. (Reuters)
Image source: http://www.world-nuclear.org