Strong M6.4 earthquake hits Tanegashima, Kyushu, Japan

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A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the JMA as M6.4 hit Tanegashima, Kyushu, Japan at 12:39 UTC on January 8, 2019. The agency is reporting a depth of 30 km (18.6 miles). USGS is reporting M6.3 at a depth of 35 km (21.7 miles); EMSC M6.3 at a depth of 40 km (24.8 miles). This earthquake can have a low humanitarian impact based on the magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.

According to the USGS, the epicenter was located 16 km (9.9 miles) SSE of Nishinoomote (population 17 832) and 80 km (50 miles) SSE of Ibusaki (population 29 710), Kagoshima, Japan.

There are 290 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

14 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 17 000 strong, 7 000 moderate and 424 000 light.

Although there may be slight sea-level changes in coastal regions/ this earthquake has caused no damage to Japan, JMA said.

The USGS issued a green alert for shaking-related fatalities and economic losses. There is a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are heavy wood frame and reinforced/confined masonry construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity

Featured image credit: Google, EMSC, TW/SAM

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