On April 15, at 16:25 UTC a magnitude 7.0 (M7.0) earthquake struck southwest Japan, “as the result of strike-slip faulting at shallow depth,” according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The quake occurred one day after “a series of foreshocks” in the Kumamoto prefecture. A magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck southwest of Ueki on Thursday, a couple of hours later a magnitude-6.0 quake hit East of Uto.
The Japan Meteorological Agency quickly issued a tsunami warning and advisories for coastal regions.
Nine people were killed as buildings collapsed in Thursday’s quakes. At least 11 were killed by the M7.0 quake, injuring and trapping hundreds more in collapsed buildings. Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that more than 1,100 people were injured, and eight were still reported missing. In addition, the prefecture office announced that 44,449 people had been evacuated, most of whom are taking refuge in shelters.
The USGS identifies both estimated fatalities and economic losses in the most severe category, expecting this type of quake to cause “high casualties and extensive damage,” requiring a national or