27 Feb 2010

Powerful Japanese quake but no serious damage

5:00 pm on 27 February 2010

A powerful earthquake has struck in the north-west Pacific, about 80 kilometres off the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

There are no reports, however, of serious casualties or major damage, and a tsunami warning initially issued was soon lifted. Only minor tsunami waves were triggered by the quake.

Local officials say two people aged 66 and 74 were injured as they fell, but neither was seriously hurt. Several water pipelines have ruptured.

The Japan Meteorological Agency puts the magnitude of the quake at 6.9, while the US Geological Survey says it was 7.0.

Survey seismologist Paul Earle says that although it was a major quake, it did not strike in a densely populated area.

The quake occurred at 5.31am local time on Saturday (9.31am NZ time), 81 kilometres east-south-east of the Okinawa city of Naha, and 22 kilometres below the seabed.