Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quake hits Japan

(CNN) -- A strong earthquake injured 102 people and destroyed 31 buildings in northern Japan on Thursday, authorities said.

People at an auto dealership in Karumai, Japan, clean up glass shards after a strong earthquake Thursday.

The magnitude 6.8 earthquake rattled north-central Japan, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Elderly residents were among the injured, including a 72-year-old woman who was hurt when a closet fell on her head and an 83-year-old man who fell out of bed and hurt his spine, police said.

In addition to destroy buildings, the quake caused landslides in six locations and forced the cancellation of train service in affected areas.

The quake lasted for up to 40 seconds, The Associated Press reported.

About 6,700 homes were left without electricity after the earthquake caused a blackout, AP cited Disaster Minister Shinya Izumi as saying.

Meteorological Agency official Takashi Yokota warned of possible aftershocks from Thursday's quake, according to AP.

The quake struck about 12:26 a.m. (10:26 a.m. ET Wednesday), and its epicenter was in eastern Honshu, about 25 km (15 miles) east-northeast of the town of Morioka and 80 km (50 miles) south of Hachinohe, the USGS said.

Although the quake was classified as "strong" by the USGS, data showed its center was 111 km (69 miles) below Earth's surface. In general, earthquakes centered closer to the Earth's surface produce stronger shaking and generally can cause more damage than those further underground.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency said there was no danger of a tsunami.
A 7.2-magnitude quake struck northern Japan's Iwate Prefecture last month, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 200. At least 12 were missing as a result of the June 14 quake, buried in the rubble of a secluded resort in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture

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