Several earthquakes hit Asia-Pacific countries

09:39, March 15, 2010      

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A series of earthquakes hit some countries in the Asia-Pacific region in the past couple of days.

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 jolted northeastern Japan on Sunday. The focus of the quake, which occurred at 05:08 p.m. local time (0808 GMT), was located some 40 km under the sea east of Fukushima Prefecture, according to the Japan Meterological agency.

The seismic waves spread to neighboring Miyagi, Tochigi, Iwate, Aomori and Akita Prefectures. And tremors were also felt in most buildings in Tokyo.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to properties. Local media said operations are normal at nuclear power plants in Miyagi and Fukushima Prefectures.

The weather agency also said that there is no tsunami damage by the earthquake though there may be slight sea level changes.

The quake occurred a day after another temblor with an estimated magnitude of 5.7 shook the same region on Saturday.

Also on Sunday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 rocked eastern parts of Indonesia, but there were no tsunami warning and reports of damage or casualties, the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency reported.

The quake struck at 07:57 a.m. Jakarta time (0057 GMT) with the epicenter at 132 km southeast Labuha of southeast North Maluku province and with a depth of 56 km under sea bed, an official of the agency named only Octivar told Xinhua over phone.

The intensity of the quake was felt at 4 MMI (Modified Mercally Intensity) in Labuha town, 2 to 3 MMI at Naulila town of Maluku province and at 2 MMI in Ambon, the capital of the province, he said.

Another official from the agency, Ali Imron, confirmed that there were no reports of damage or casualties from Labuha town, the hardest hit area.

Meanwhile, an earthquake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale struck in Fiordland, New Zealand's lower South Island, on Sunday morning, causing no casualties or damages.

The quake, occurring at 08:55 a.m. local time (1955 GMT Saturday), was centered 80 km west of Te Anau at a focal depth of 7 km, New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science reported.

It was likely to have been felt in Fiordland and possibly western Southland.

In addition, an earthquake with the magnitude of 6.0 struck Papua in easternmost of Indonesia on Saturday.

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