A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck off the east coast of Honshu, Japan, today 7th April 2011. The quake hit at about 11:30 pm on Thursday Japan time (14:30 UTC).
A tsunami warning was issued for the coast, already devastated by last month's massive quake, and then lifted 90 minutes later by Japan's meteorological agency. A Pacific Tsunami Warning Center evaluation of the quake said an oceanwide tsunami was not expected.
Previously an earthquake of magnitude 6.5 hit off the east coast of Japan, on 28th March, triggering a local tsunami warning. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake occurred at about 07:23 local time Monday (22:23 UCT Sunday), at a depth of 5.9 kilometers. The epicenter was some 161 km east-northeast of Fukushima, Honshu, and 368 km northeast of Tokyo.
Hundreds of aftershocks have shaken north eastern Japan in the wake of the earliest earthquake but few have measured higher than 7.0. This latest aftershock is guaranteed to cause damage to already weakened structures in the region.
Nearly a month after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake generated the tsunami along Japan's north eastern coast more than 20,000 people are dead or missing and hundreds of thousands are left homeless. Many of those may have been washed out to sea and will never be found.