Two moderate earthquakes strike near Japan’s famed Mt. Fuji volcano

January 28, 2012JAPANTwo moderate earthquakes struck near a dormant volcano in eastern Japan on early Saturday morning, seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The quake was widely felt in the capital. A 5.0-magnitude earthquake at 7:39 a.m. local time (2239 GMT Friday) was centered about 16.7 kilometers (10.3 miles) northwest of Yamakita, a town located in the Ashigarakami District of Kanagawa Prefecture, or about 67 kilometers (41 miles) west of Tokyo. It struck at a depth of approximately 20 kilometers (12.4 miles), according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Just minutes later, at 7:43 a.m. local time (2243 GMT Friday), an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter scale struck the same area. The earthquakes struck close to Mount Fuji, a volcano which last erupted in 1707 but is currently considered to be at a low risk of eruption. Shaking as a result of Saturday’s earthquake could be felt across Tokyo, prompting authorities to briefly halt Tōkaidō Shinkansen high-speed train services as a precaution. The train services resumed soon after, and there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. Japan sits on the so-called ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin which is prone to frequent and large earthquakes as well as volcanic eruptions. The University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute predicted earlier this month that the capital faces a 70 percent probability of experiencing a magnitude-7 quake within four years. On March 11, 2011, an enormous 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northeastern Japan, generating a devastating tsunami. The earthquake and resulting tsunami left at least 15,833 people killed while 3,671 others remain missing and are feared dead. –Channel 6 News
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