A major earthquake, initially measured at 7.9 but now upgraded to a magnitude of 8.9 has struck off the northeast coast of Honshu island Japan. The epicentre was approximately 250 miles from Tokyo and at a depth of 20 miles. Severe shaking has been experienced in Tokyo and along the east coast and a tsunami reported to be as high as 10m has now struck the coastline causing much damage.
The earthquake struck at 5.46am GMT so it is too early to tell what the eventual damage, loss of life and insured loss will be. Significant damage appears to have happened in the Sendai area about 150 miles north of Tokyo where a large tsunami has come ashore. Kyodo news agency is reporting that a large tsunami has swamped the airport at Sendai. 4 million households are said to be without electricity and some of Japans nuclear power stations have been shut down.
At a magnitude of 8.9 this has been the 7th most powerful earthquake ever recorded.
Tsunami watches and warnings have been issued for other Pacific rim countries, including Hawaii and the U.S. coast.
Looking at this list of recent quakes from the USGS it appears that this faultline has been shaking since the 7.2 magnitude quake on Tuesday, you can see that frequent quakes have occurred in the same area since that event. Large aftershocks are now being experienced.
Al Jazeera has live coverage at the moment.
We’ll update this post, or write new articles, as updates come in today.