8.9 Quake Rips Tokyo, Tsunami Shatters Coast

Wall of water rips down buildings
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 11, 2011 12:38 AM CST
Reporters at the Associated Press Tokyo Bureau in Tokyo take shelter under a table while a strong earthquake strikes eastern Japan today.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
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(Newser) – A tsunami rammed the coast of Japan following a powerful 8.9-magnitude earthquake that violently shook buildings in Tokyo and sent panicked residents into the streets. The extent of damage and injuries is not yet known from the quake and aftermath, but TV cameras showed a powerful Pacific wave ripping down buildings and tumbling cars down streets several miles inland in coastal towns. Fires triggered by the quake burned uncontrolled up and down the coast, reports AP. One death was reported in Tokyo, but many others are expected in the nation. "This is a rare major quake, and damages could quickly rise by the minute," warned an official.

The epicenter of the quake was some 80 miles off the Pacific shore of the Miyagi prefecture.The first massive quake was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, including one measuring magnitude 7.4. A tsunami warning is still in effect for the entire Pacific coast of Japan, as well as for Russia, Marcus Island, and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Hawaii. (Read more Japan stories.)

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