7.1-Magnitude Quake Hits off Japan Coast

BY News Desk  April 7, 2011 at 11:32 AM EST

Updated 12:10 p.m. ET | Japan’s meteorological society has lifted its tsunami warning, an hour and a half after the quake hit at 11:30 p.m. local time, the Associated Press reports.

Updated 12 p.m. ET | The U.S. Geological Society has downgraded the quake’s magnitude to 7.1.

A tsunami warning is in effect along Japan’s eastern coast after a 7.4-magnitude quake that could bring waves as high as six feet. Officials are warning those in low-lying areas of the Miyagi and Iwate prefectures to evacuate to higher ground.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says it is assessing the situation at the damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where workers have spent weeks trying to stabilize the overheating reactors. The latest offshore quake hit about 80 miles north of the plant. Tepco says it has thus far not seen any immediate indication of fresh damage.

The latest quake, which shook buildings as far away as Tokyo, is the latest in what are being called a series of strong aftershocks in the wake of the 9.0-magnitude quake March 11, but Thursday’s is one of only a handful to exceed the 7.0-magnitude mark.

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