Japan was rattled by a magnitude-7.1 aftershock Thursday night nearly a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami flattened the northeastern coast.
The strongest aftershock since the day of the magnitude-9.0 megaquake was a fresh blow to victims of that March 11 quake and subsequent tsunami that killed some 25,000 people, tore apart hundreds of thousands of homes and has sparked an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant.
Damage and injuries from the aftershock were not immediately clear. The Japan meteorological agency briefly issued another tsunami warning Thursday night, but later canceled it.
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Officials at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant said there was no immediate sign of new problems caused by the aftershock. Japan’s nuclear safety agency says workers there have retreated to a quake-resistant shelter in the complex. No one there was injured.
However, at the Onawaga power plant in Miyagi prefecture, two to three power lines went down, leaving the facility reliant on one remaining power line to service the cooling operations, a company official said.
Officials say Thursday’s aftershock hit 30 miles under the water and off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. The quake that preceded last month’s tsunami was a 9.0-magnitude. It was originally reported to be a magnitude-7.4, but the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., later downgraded the quake to 7.1.
Paul Caruso, a geophysicist at USGS, said it struck at about the same location and depth as last month’s hug quake. It’s the strongest of the more than 1,000 aftershocks that have been felt since, except for a 7.9 aftershock that day.
Buildings as far away as Tokyo shook for about a minute.