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Old 09-25-2003, 05:16 PM   #1
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Massive Earthquake hits Japan

[q]Huge earthquake shakes Japan island

A potentially historic earthquake struck Hokkaido in northern Japan on early Friday, causing major structural damage, NBC News reported. The quake preliminarily registered magnitude 8.0 on the U.S. Geological Survey's scale, a rare category of earthquake capable of causing widespread destruction. Tsunami advisories and warnings were issued for much of the Pacific region, including all of Japan, western Russia and Hawaii.

PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENTS indicated that the earthquake was a major one.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said it was an intensity-7.6 earthquake on its scale. The U.S. Geological Survey, meanwhile, saying it rated at 8.0 on the U.S. scale, classified it as a "great quake."

Specific assessments of casualties and damage were not immediately available in Hokkaido, where the earthquake struck 36 miles under the seabed at 4:50 a.m. Friday (4:50 p.m. ET Thursday). But NBC News producer Arata Yamamoto reported from Tokyo that there was widespread damage to buildings in Hokkaido, while NHK television showed video of a fire at an oil refinery.

At least two people were injured when a local train derailed, NHK said.

Hokkaido, which is about the size of Austria, is the second-largest of Japan's four main islands. It is home to 5 million people, a nuclear reactor and active volcanoes. It is less than 500 miles from Tokyo, and its capital, Sapporo, was host to the 1972 Winter Olympic Games.

Meteorologists warned that the quake was capable of creating enormous, destructive tidal waves known as tsunamis.

A tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia and the Marcus Islands in the far western Pacific rim.

A tsunami watch was in effect for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines and much of the central Pacific. Tsunami watches was issued as far east as Hawaii and Alaska.

If the preliminary 8.0 rating is confirmed, the quake would equal the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which killed about 10,000 people.

By comparison, the famous 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco measured only 7.7.

This is a breaking news story. Return to for further details.

By's Alex Johnson with NBC News' Robert Windrem in New York and Arata Yamamoto in Tokyo. [/q]

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Old 09-25-2003, 05:29 PM   #2
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Luckily Hokkaido is one of the most mountainous areas of Japan, so it hopefully wont be as catastrophic as the Kobe earthquake was in '95.

A few of my friends' families live in Hokkaido....

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Old 09-25-2003, 05:35 PM   #3
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i hope it doesn't cause that much damage and problems for all who live there.
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:37 PM   #4
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:39 PM   #5
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I hope no one was injured or killed
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Old 09-25-2003, 05:54 PM   #6
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More info from BBC:

The tremor was apparently shallow, according to a geologist at the US Geological Survey, John Minsch.

"That makes it more likely to be a tsunami, and there's most likely to be a great amount of damage," he said.
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Old 09-25-2003, 09:03 PM   #7
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Phew. I have a very good friend in Tokyo. I should drop her a line...
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Old 09-25-2003, 09:30 PM   #8
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Oh no, my good friend from last year at school (he was an exchange student) lives in Northern Hokkaido...I wish there was a way I could contact him...

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