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    Miyagi earthquake serious but not devastating

    Today’s earthquake in Miyagi Prefecture appears to have caused about 60 injuries of various levels of severity. The magnitude estimate has been revised to M7.2, which is comparable to that of the Great Hanshin Earthquake ten years ago. The focus of today’s quake was buried deeper, though, and the JMA rating was correspondingly lower than the 7 given to the Kobe earthquake. Sadly but fortunately, every big earthquake is instructive for engineers; Sendai’s shut-off systems for gas and water mains were improved after the Kobe quake, a move that was credited with minimizing damage in the region’s last two major quakes and probably also had its effect today.

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