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Okinawa’s February earthquake revised upward to 7.4 magnitude

Date Posted: 2010-03-11

The shaking that rattled people in Okinawa awake at 5:31 a.m. on February 27th was stronger than even government officials realized at the time, and the earthquake magnitude figure has now been revised upward to 7.4.

The Okinawa Meteorological Observatory had tagged the early Saturday morning earthquake at 6.9, while the U.S. Geological Survey recorded the tremors at 7.0. The earthquake was recorded at 5.0 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7. The quake was registered at a depth of 6.2 miles, about 10 kilometers east southeast of Naha City. Two people suffered injuries—one in Naha City and another in Urasoe City—while the vibrations ruptured water pipes on the island, including on U.S. military bases.

More than 816 aftershocks were recorded in the days following the earthquake, through March 4th. Meteorologists say it is common for aftershocks to continue for about three weeks after an earthquake. Officials say the small tremors are so slight, they’re usually not even felt except by sensitive equipment. A total of 164,314 such tremors have been logged in recent years. Forecasters say earthquake activity is increasing in waters off the Okinawa main island.

The February 27th earthquake was the largest since 1909. That earthquake killed two Okinawans. A 1911 earthquake with an epicenter off Amami-Oshima Island registered 5 on the Japanese scale.


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