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Fukushima workers are evacuated as quake of about 7.0-magnitude hits the country
An earthquake rocked northeastern Japan on Sunday, in the same general area where a massive earthquake and tsunami occurred in March that left the Fukushima Dai'ichi nuclear plant crippled and leaking radiation.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 10:57 a.m. on Sunday, with the epicenter about 130 miles east of Sendai, according to CNN. Sendai was the city closest to the March 11 quake's epicenter. USGS measured the magnitude of Sunday's quake at 7.0, while the Japanese Meteorological Agency put it at a 7.1-magnitude.
Authorities evacuated workers at the Fukushima plant, where work has been ongoing to stabilize the nuclear reactors there, and tsunami warnings were issued by the Japan Meteorological Agency, according to Reuters. The tsunami warnings were canceled later, according to CNN.
Officials said there were no reports of any further damage at the Fukushima plant resulting from the quake, msnbc reported. Though residents in coastal areas were urged to evacuate, the Kyodo news agency said a wave of only about four inches was recorded in Ofunato.
Local airports were also functioning normally.
A smaller 5.6-magnitude quake was recorded in the same area on Thursday, even closer to the Fukushima facility.
The earthquake on March 11 was a 9.0-magnitude and triggered a massive, destructive tsunami that left more than 22,600 people dead or missing. Three reactors at the Fukushima Dai'ichi nuclear power plant suffered meltdowns after the earthquake and tsunami, and the tsunami knocked out the plant's cooling systems, leading to the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, according to CNN.
Buildings and facilities in the area were left structurally weakened and seawalls were destroyed because of the disaster in March, leaving the area more vulnerable to smaller earthquakes, msnbc said.
Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active countries, accounting for about a fifth of all quakes worldwide of magnitude 6 or greater, according to GlobalPost.
According to CNN, tremors from the earthquake on Sunday were even felt in Tokyo:
"It's just a continuing of the aftershocks of that devastating 9.0," said Dale Grant, a geophysicist with the USGS, referring to the March quake. "These kinds of aftershocks are likely to occur for some time."
GlobalPost's coverage of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the resulting ongoing nuclear disaster: