The Japan Meteorological Agency recorded a Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km beneath Ibaraki Prefecture, roughly 150 km to the northeast of Tokyo, slightly after 10.00 am Japan Standard Time on Tuesday 31 December 2013. There are no reports of any damage or injuries associated with this event, though shaking was felt across much of eastern Honshu.
The approximate location of the 31 December 2013 Ibaraki Prefecture Earthquake. Google Maps.
Japan has a complex tectonic situation, with parts of the country on four different tectonic plates. Eastern Honshu area lies on the boundary between the Okhotsk, Eurasian and Philipine Plates, where the Okhotsk Plate is passing beneath the Eurasian and Philipine Plates as it is subducted into the Earth. This is not a smooth process; the rocks of the two plates constantly stick together, only to break apart again as the pressure builds up, causing Earthquakes in the process.
See also Volcano creates new island in the west Pacific, Tokyo shaken by Magnitude 5.4 Earthquake on the Bōsō Peninsula, Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake off the east coast of Japan, Eruption and pyroclastic flow on Sakurajima, Kyushu and Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
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