Earthquakes Shake New Zealand And Kermadecs

A cluster of small quakes rocked parts of the country today, but it is unlikely to be related to a major shake near the Kermadec Islands.

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck south of the Kermadec Islands at 4.19pm and the Ministry of Civil Defence warned it could trigger a tsunami.

A Geonet spokesman said there is no definite way to tell but Kiwis should not think the shaking throughout the country is related to the Kermadec quake.

The spokesman also told the Herald there should be little concern the Kermadec quake would trigger a big quake in New Zealand.

“You can’t make any guarantees but there’s no reason to think this would trigger something on the Alpine Fault or any other major fault in New Zealand,” the spokesman said.

However, the Ministry was quick to quash any possibility of a tsunami impacting New Zealand as a result of the earthquake.

Elsewhere, a series of earthquakes shook parts of the country in the North and South islands.

Geonet recorded four moderate earthquakes hitting between Arthur’s Pass in the south and Matawai in the north between 4.21pm and 6.27pm.

New Zealand earthquakes:

Magnitude 4.4, 50km east of Arthur’s Pass at a depth of 30km at 4.21pm.
Magnitude 4.7, 15km east of Matawai at a depth of 15km at 4.21pm.
Magnitude 4.8, 15km northwest of Pongaroa at a depth of 5km at 4.22pm.
Magnitude 4.4, 10km east of Amberly at a depth of 6km at 4.24pm.
Magnitude 4.0, 10km west of Masterton at a depth of 23km at 6.27pm.

UPDATE : Japan Earthquake: Death Toll Rises After Devastating Tremor

The death toll in the magnitude 6.7 earthquake that struck Japan on Thursday has risen to 39, the country’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Two people remain missing, and at least 641 people were injured, the agency said Sunday. Evacuation centers are still holding 2,544 people.

The quake is the latest in a string of natural disasters that have hit Japan recently, including deadly floods, typhoons, earthquakes, landslides and heatwaves.

Photo taken Sept. 6, 2018, from a Kyodo News airplane shows the site of a landslide in Atsuma, Hokkaido, northern Japan, triggered by an earthquake with preliminary magnitude of 6.7.

The number of confirmed dead and injured in the quake on the northern island of Hokkaido has risen steadily from the nine reported Friday.

Police search for missing persons around a house destroyed by a landslide after a powerful earthquake in Atsuma, Hokkaido, northern Japan.

Lasting almost a minute, powerful tremors jolted people from their beds early Thursday, collapsing roads and causing landslides that buried homes and other buildings.

In this aerial image, houses are buried by multiple landslides after a powerful earthquake jolt on September 6, 2018 in Atsuma, Hokkaido, Japan.

Near the epicenter, landslides wiped out houses in the tiny town of Atsuma, home to 40 residents.

Almost 3 million households lost power initially, the Hokkaido Electric Power Company said. Almost half had power restored Friday.

Photos from Sapporo, Hokkaido’s main city on the western part of the island, showed huge cracks in the street and buried houses.

As many as 40,000 people, including 22,000 troops from the country’s Self Defense Forces, have been involved in the rescue efforts.

Thursday’s earthquake comes as much of Japan is still dealing with the effects of Typhoon Jebi, the strongest such storm to hit the Japanese mainland in 25 years.

High winds smashed a tanker into a bridge, forcing one of the country’s largest airports to close and leaving at least 10 people dead.

On Japan’s main island of Honshu, nine cities and towns issued compulsory evacuation orders. A further 53 issued non-compulsory evacuation orders.

Before it made landfall, the storm had sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour (87 mph) and gusts of 165 kilometers per hour (102 mph), the equivalent of a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane.

Deep Magnitude 7.8 Quake Hits Offshore From Suva, Fiji

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit 105 km east-southeast of Suva, Fiji, at a depth of 608 km, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Thursday. The measure was revised downward from an initial magnitude 8.1 reading by USGS.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was expected, and there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management said there was no tsunami threat to New Zealand following the earthquake.


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Powerful Quake Leaves At Least 9 Dead, Dozens Missing In Japan

A powerful earthquake Thursday on Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido triggered dozens of landslides that crushed houses under torrents of dirt, rocks and timber, prompting frantic efforts to unearth any survivors. At least nine people were killed, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. Officials said at least 366 were injured, five of them seriously, and about 30 people were unaccounted for after the magnitude 6.7 earthquake jolted residents from their beds at 3:08 a.m.

Nearly 3 million households were left without power by the quake – the latest in an exhausting run of natural disasters for Japan.

It paralyzed normal business on the island, as blackouts cut off water to homes, immobilized trains and airports, causing hundreds of flight cancellations, and shut down phone systems.

In the town of Atsuma, where entire hillsides collapsed, rescuers used small backhoes and shovels to search for survivors under the tons of earth that tumbled down steep mountainsides, burying houses and farm buildings below. The area’s deep green hills were marred by reddish-brown gashes where the soil tore loose under the violent tremors.

Twenty-eight people remained unaccounted for in the town, Atsuma Mayor Shoichiro Miyasaka told public broadcaster NHK.

“We will carry on searching for them,” he said.

Miyasaka said the town had emergency meals for up to 2,000 people and that more than 500 had sought refuge in its emergency shelters.

The landslides ripped through some homes and buried others. Some residents described awakening to find their next-door neighbors gone.

“The entire thing just collapsed,” said one. “It’s unbelievable.”

The island’s only nuclear power plant, which was offline for routine safety checks, temporarily switched to a backup generator to keep its spent fuel cool. Nuclear regulators said there was no sign of abnormal radiation – a concern after a massive quake and tsunami in March 2011 that hit northeast Japan destroyed both external and backup power to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, causing meltdowns.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the quake’s epicenter was 40 kilometers (24 miles) deep. But it still wreaked havoc across much of the relatively sparsely inhabited island.

Many roads were closed and some were impassable. NHK showed workers rushing to clean up shattered glass and reinstall ceiling panels that had fallen in the region’s biggest airport at Chitose.

Japan is used to dealing with disasters, but the last few months have brought a string of calamities. The quake came on the heels of a typhoon that lifted heavy trucks off their wheels and triggered major flooding in western Japan, leaving the main airport near Osaka and Kobe closed after a tanker rammed a bridge connecting the facility to the mainland. The summer also brought devastating floods and landslides from torrential rains in Hiroshima and deadly hot temperatures across the country.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that up to 25,000 troops and other personnel would be dispatched to Hokkaido to help with rescue operations.

As Japan’s northern frontier and a major farming region with rugged mountain ranges and vast forests, Hokkaido is an area accustomed to coping with long winters, isolation and other hardships. But the blackouts brought on by the quake underscored the country’s heavy reliance on vulnerable power systems: without electricity, water was cut to many homes, train lines were idled and phone systems out of order.

In the prefectural capital of Sapporo, a city of 1.9 million, the quake ruptured roads and knocked houses askew. A mudslide left several cars half buried. By evening the city’s streets were dark and shops closed.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko told reporters that the extensive power outage was caused by an emergency shutdown of the main thermal power plant at Tomato-Atsuma that supplies half of Hokkaido’s electricity.

The hope had been to get power back up within hours and some electricity was gradually being restored. However, damage to generators at the plant meant that a full restoration of power could take more than a week, Seko said.

Utilities were starting up several other thermal and hydroelectric plants and power was restored to 340,000 households, but even with those stopgap supplies thousands will still be without electricity for some time.

Authorities sent power generator vehicles to hospitals and other locations and water tanker trucks to communities in Sapporo, where residents were collecting bottles to tide them over until electricity and tap water supplies come back online. Long lines of people waited to charge their cellphones at the city’s regional government office.

The quake’s impact was widespread. To the north, in the scenic town of Biei, residents lined up outside of supermarkets and convenience stores, quickly clearing shelves of water, toilet paper and food.

“Only a few cartons of instant ramen were left,” said Mika Takeda, who lives in the town of 10,000. The one local gas station was limiting customers to only 20 liters (5 gallons) of gas, she said.

Harvard Working With Google On AI To Predict Earthquake Aftershocks

Researchers at Harvard University, with an assist from Google, said they developed an artificial intelligence system capable of forecasting aftershocks from earthquakes.

The team used algorithms to analyze a database of earthquakes worldwide to predict where aftershocks might happen. Results showed the AI offered a significantly better system for predicting where an aftershock might happen.

“Aftershock forecasting in particular is a challenge that’s well-suited to machine learning because there are so many physical phenomena that could influence aftershock behavior and machine learning is extremely good at teasing out those relationships,” Phoebe DeVries, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and co-author on the study, said in a statement.

Details on the AI system were published in the journal Nature.

Researchers say since the AI was trained using earthquake data from around the world, it can potentially predict aftershocks across different types of faults.

However, Brendan Meade, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at Harvard and a co-author on the study, said experts are still “a very long way” from any real-time aftershock forecasting.

Meade said he is also working on efforts to predict earthquake magnitude with AI to help limit the impacts of earthquakes.

“I think there’s a quiet revolution in thinking about earthquake prediction,” Meade said in a statement. “It’s not an idea that’s totally out there anymore. And while this result is interesting, I think this is part of a revolution in general about rebuilding all of science in the artificial intelligence era.”

At Least 2 Killed, Over 200 Injured As Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Jolts Western Iran

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 has struck western Iran, near the border of Iraq on Saturday.

The quake hit 26 km southwest of Javanrud, Iran, at a depth of 10 kilometers, the United States Geological Survey reports.

At least two people have been killed and more than 240 injured, Reuters reported.

Strong shaking was reportedly felt as far as the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

An emergency crisis center has been set up in the city of Javanrud to reach out to badly hit areas.

Weather conditions for any cleanup and recovery efforts over the next few days will be seasonably hot and dry. No rain is expected to hinder anyone from helping the affected.

Temperatures will rise to around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) each afternoon, and some locations near the earthquake area could be even warmer.

7.1-Magnitude Earthquake On Border Of Peru, Brazil, USGS Reports

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake has struck eastern Peru, close to its borders with Bolivia and Brazil on Friday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake was recorded at 4:04 a.m. local time at a depth of 378 miles.

The epicenter was 83 miles west of the Peruvian village of Inapari and 140 miles west of the Bolivian city of Cobija.

It is not yet known whether there was any significant damage or casualties, however authorities say there is currently no tsunami threat for Australia.

The US Geological Survey said on Friday a 7.1-magnitude earthquake had struck in eastern Peru, close to its borders with Brazil and Bolivia.

The quake was recorded at 7.04pm (AEST) on Friday at a depth of 609 kilometres.

The epicentre was 135km west of the Peruvian village of Inapari, and 226km west of the Bolivian city of Cobija.

Social media users said tremors had been felt across the country and as far away as Arica in northern Chile.

Two strong shocks struck Pucallpa, a Peruvian town northwest of the epicentre, according to Twitter postings by several residents.

No tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and Chile’s fire service said on Twitter that the quake did not have the potential to generate one off the Chilean coast.

The Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, which services all coastal areas of Australia and offshore territories including the Antarctic region, said on Friday night there was no current tsunami threat.

In January, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the coast of Peru, causing homes and roads to collapse. Two deaths were reported and over 100 people were injured.

In 2007, an earthquake killed hundreds in the region of Ica.