Second Quake Within 15 Hours Shakes Tokyo
TOKYO (AP) _ Two earthquakes rumbled through the Tokyo region within a 15-hour period today, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, officials said.
Don Findlay, spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey, said the second quake struck at 9:26 p.m. (8:26 a.m. EDT) and measured 5.8 on the Richter scale. It was the stronger of the two temblors. Findlay said initial seismograph readings placed the center of the second tremor about 25 miles north of Tokyo.
The first tremor at 6:28 a.m. (5:28 p.m. EDT Thursday) had a preliminary measurement of 5.6 on the Richter scale, said the Central Meteorological Agency. The epicenter of that quake was beneath the Pacific Ocean along the Boso Peninsula, southeast of Tokyo, the agency said.
That quake apparently went unnoticed by many, if not most, of the sleeping inhabitants of the capital area.
The Japanese agency said the second quake measured 5 on the seven-point Japanese scale and 6.2 on the Richter scale.
The agency said the second tremor was considered ″very strong,″ and that it was the first time since July 27, 1929 that a quake of that strength had struck the Japanese capital.
The second earthquake, which measured a 4 on the Japanese scale in the cities of Yokohama, Chiba and Tateyama surrounding Tokyo, was felt as far north as Akita, 270 miles north of Tokyo.
In struck at the peak of the evening dinner hour, and for the better part of a minute rocked the vast Tokyo metropolis, made nervous by two earthquakes that devastated parts of Mexico City on Sept. 19 and 20.
The Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) reported that trunk train services were halted in the Tokyo area and the capital’s main international airport at Narita, 37.5 miles northwest of Tokyo, was closed for inspection of the runway.
Long-distance, high-speed ″bullet trains″ were also halted, as were all commuter and subways in Tokyo, in accordance with prearranged plans, the Japan National Railways said.
Tokyo’s downtown streets were filled with traffic and with people, but most seemed oblivious to the vibrations. However, those in rooftop restaurants felt sharp vertical jolts and saw chandeliers swaying wildly. Waiters froze with trays of food and drink in their hands.
″Dogs were barking and the windows and cupboards rattled terribly,″ Yukiko Mikami, a housewife, said in a telephone interview from Yokohama, Tokyo’s sister city several miles to the south.
Like Mexico, Japan is highly vulnerable to earthquakes, experiencing hundreds of recorded tremors per year.
The Central Meteorological Agency said the quake registered 5 on the Japan scale of seven, categorizing it as ″very strong.″
The agency said the later temblor evidently was not related to one that rumbled through Tokyo and surrounding areas at 6:28 a.m. (5:28 p.m. EDT Thursday).
The open-ended Richter scale gauges the energy released by an earthquake, as measured by the ground motion recorded on a seismograph. The Japanese scale measures intensity of ground motion in different locations.
A magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale can cause considerable damage, while a quake measuring 8 is a ″great″ earthquake and is capable of tremendous damage.