Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Earthquake Shakes Japan, Kills 16 on Russian Isles

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Earthquake Shakes Japan, Kills 16 on Russian Isles

Article excerpt

A major undersea earthquake late Tuesday killed at least 16 people in Russia's remote Kuril Islands, jolted Japan and triggered fear of tidal waves on both sides of the Pacific.

A quake with a preliminary-estimate magnitude of 7.9 hit near the sparsely populated Kuril Island chain north of Japan. At least 176 people in northern Japan were hurt by falling objects, but only three injuries were considered serious.

A 6.0 magnitude aftershock was felt early today in the same area. There were no immediate reports of additional damage or injuries.

The first quake sent 10-foot-high tidal waves smashing into the Kurils, destroying moorings and hurling small boats onto land. But the waves were smaller and less destructive farther from the epicenter.

By early today, about 40 small tsunami waves had been observed in Japan. Most were less than 3 feet high, although one was 6 feet. There were no reports of any damage.

Hawaii closed its public schools and beaches early Tuesday and ordered residents of coastal areas to evacuate. But the waves reached only 18 inches, and the tsunami warning was lifted across the Pacific about six hours later.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii had issued a tidal wave warning for all Pacific islands and coastal areas, including the west coast of the United States and Canada. But the waves dissipated as they crossed the Pacific.

In Moscow, Russia's Ministry for Emergency Situations said the bodies of at least 16 people had been found on three islands in the Kuril chain. Most were killed by falling debris, said a ministry spokesman, Anatoly Streltsov. In some parts of the Kurils, 18-inch cracks were visible in the earth after the quake, Streltsov said.

Viktor Sankov, spokesman for Russia's regional government on Sakhalin Island, said all the dead were believed to be Russian military personnel. …

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