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Quake hits eastern Japan: nuclear plant stable
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 14, 2012

Strong 6.5 earthquake hits Solomon Islands: USGS
Sydney (AFP) Feb 14, 2012 - A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake shook the Solomon Islands Tuesday but there was no threat of a widespread destructive tsunami and no reports of damage, US seismologists said.

The quake hit at 7:19 pm local time (0819 GMT), 176 kilometres (110 miles) southeast of the capital Honiara at a depth of 54 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was "no destructive widespread tsunami threat" based on historical data.

"However, earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometres of the earthquake epicentre," it added.

The Solomon Islands is on a tectonic plate margin in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire and is frequently hit by quakes. A strong 6.6-magnitude quake hit the island group in January but there were no reports of damage or injuries.

In 2007 a tsunami following an 8.1-magnitude earthquake killed at least 52 people in the Solomon Islands and left thousands homeless.

A powerful earthquake rocked eastern Japan Tuesday, but no tsunami warning was issued and no damage was reported at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The US Geological Survey said the 6.0 magnitude quake, with an epicentre 10 kilometres (six miles) deep, was centred 166 kilometres east-northeast of Tokyo, where correspondents said buildings swayed.

Japan's meteorological agency also located the quake off the coast of Ibaraki prefecture, south of the stricken plant.

A very small change of tidal level was forecast but was not expected to cause any damage.

Nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant remained stable.

Office buildings in Tokyo swayed for around a minute when the quake struck at 3.21pm (0621 GMT), but there was no sign of panic in a city well accustomed to tremors.

A 9.0-magnitude earthquake in March 2011 triggered a monster tsunami that killed more than 19,000 people and crippled the cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, causing meltdowns in some of its reactors.

Radiation leaked into the air, soil and sea around the plant, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

A number of powerful aftershocks have shaken the region since the March quake.

Japan, located at the junction of four tectonic plates, experiences 20 percent of the strongest quakes recorded on Earth each year.

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Moderate quake rattles California
Los Angeles (AFP) Feb 13, 2012 - An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 struck northern California on Monday, US seismologists said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The epicenter of the quake was located six miles (10 kilometers) from the town of Weitchpec, not far from the border with the state of Oregon, the US Geological Survey reported. It struck at a depth of 20 miles.

"We felt it. There is no damage, no injuries in the whole county and no tsunami warning," an official in the Humboldt County sheriff's office in Eureka told AFP, describing the quake as "moderate shaking."

Earthquakes are regular events in California, mostly triggered by activity along the San Andreas Fault that runs through much of the western state, the most populous in the United States.

Geologists say a quake capable of causing widespread destruction is 99 percent certain of hitting California within the next 30 years. A magnitude 7.8 quake could kill 1,800 people, injure 50,000 more and damage 300,000 buildings.

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake in Los Angeles left at least 60 people dead and did an estimated $10 billion damage in 1994, while a 6.9 quake in San Francisco in 1989 claimed the lives of 67 people.


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3D laser map shows earthquake before and after
Davis CA (SPX) Feb 13, 2012
Geologists have a new tool to study how earthquakes change the landscape down to a few inches, and it's giving them insight into how earthquake faults behave. In the Feb. 10 issue of the journal Science, a team of scientists from the U.S., Mexico and China reports the most comprehensive before-and-after picture yet of an earthquake zone, using data from the magnitude 7.2 event that struck near M ... read more

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