A magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck off the eastern coast of southern Japan on Saturday at 4:50 p.m. UTC, according to the United States Geological Survey. The quake is not expected to cause a tsunami, and no damage was immediately reported.
The quake’s epicenter is 104 miles from the Japanese island of Hachijo-jima, or 283 miles south of Tokyo and 223 miles south-southeast of Shimoda. It occurred at a depth of about 20 miles below the earth's surface. The USGS will update this page with information on the quake as it rolls in. The agency initially marked the quake at a 6.1 magnitude but then downgraded it, according to RT.
The USGS issued a “green alert,” which means there is a 99 percent chance there will be no fatalities and very little in terms of economic losses. About 8,000 people are located in an area where “weak” shaking can usually be felt.
Prelim M5.7 earthquake IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION May-2 16:50 UTC, updates http://t.co/t7C1AXUwym
— USGS Big Quakes (@USGSBigQuakes) May 2, 2015
Earthquakes are a common occurence in the region, where the Philippine Plate meets the Sunda Plate to the west and the Pacific Plate to the east. Saturday’s quake did not originate in the same region as the massive 9.0-magnitude quake that rocked central Japan in 2011. That quake created a devastating tsunami wave that destroyed communities along Japan’s eastern coastline and triggered the three-core meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. That quake was caused by the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Honshu Plate.
Quakes of similar magnitude often strike off the coast of Pacific nations. The Philippines saw one in October that cracked the sides of some buildings and had people running for safety, but no serious injuries or damage was reported. Comparably, a 5.7 magnitude quake that struck just 25 miles off the coast of Ferndale, California, in late January was “nothing out of the ordinary,” according to a county sheriff’s office.