Web Extra Monday, July, 16, 2007
Deadly earthquake hits Japan, damages nuclear power plant
A deadly earthquake shook Japan this morning, killing at least
seven people, injuring hundreds more and damaging one of the world's largest
nuclear power plants.
At 10:13 a.m. local time, a magnitude-6.7 earthquake hit Japan's
west coast, triggering aftershocks that included a 6.6-magnitude earthquake
in the Sea of Japan about 12 hours later, according to the U.S.
Geological Survey (USGS). The effects of the earthquake could be felt throughout
Honshu, Japan's main island, including in Tokyo, 240 kilometers southeast of
the earthquake's epicenter.
The earthquake's tremors caused highways to crumble, a train
to derail and numerous buildings to collapse, killing seven elderly people,
according to the Associated Press (AP). Perhaps most affected
by the earthquake's force were the city of Kashiwazaki and its 90,000 residents,
where the earthquake destroyed hundreds of homes and a fire broke out at an
electrical transformer at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant, causing Tokyo
Electric Co. to shut down three of the plant's generators, according to Reuters.
The damage caused the plant to leak 315 gallons of water, which likely flowed
out to the Sea of Japan, according to the AP. Officials say the water carried
only miniscule traces of radioactive material, posing no environmental threat.
Resting atop four tectonic plates, seismic activity is a common
occurrence in Japan. It's been nearly three years, however, since Japan experienced
a deadly earthquake. In October 2004, a magnitude-6.6 earthquake struck western
Japan, killing more than 25 people (see Geotimes online,
Web Extra, Oct. 24, 2004).
on the earthquakes from the US Geological Survey