Japan Earthquake: Fukushima Braces for Another Possible Tsunami After 6.1-Magnitude Shock

September 20, 2017, 8:03 PM UTC

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Japan Wednesday, just hours after a 7.1-magnitude event leveled central Mexico. The tremors erupted at 2:37 a.m. Tokyo time, and the epicenter was approximately 175 miles east of Kamaishi, not far from the 2011 quake that later sent tsunami waves racing toward Japan.

As of this writing, there have not been any reports of damage or tsunami warnings, but the story is still developing. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported the seismic event, but so far the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has yet to comment on possible tsunami activity. NOAA is currently monitoring Hurricane Maria off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Japan is understandably on edge over undersea earthquakes, after 2011’s 9.0-magnitude event caused massive damage at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Ultimately nearly 20,000 people were killed or went missing during that earthquake, which was the fourth-largest in world since measurements began in 1900. The earthquake, and subsequent tsunami waves (which were up to 130 feet high), caused $220 billion in damage to Japan. The waves hit the Fukushima Daiichi plant so hard that the nuclear facility began to melt down. The nearby town was ordered to evacuate amidst the fallout, and more than 5,000 aftershocks hit over the next year—including one that measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale.