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Tsunami warning issued as MASSIVE earthquake hits Japan

A devastating earthquake hit central Japan today with a preliminary magnitude of 7.6, triggering a tsunami warning as residents were urged to evacuate.

BREAKING: TSUNAMI WARNING ISSUED AS MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE HITS JAPAN

According to a report by SkyNews, waves of up to 5m high are believed to be reaching Noto in Ishikawa, according to the meteorological agency.

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Japanese broadcaster NHK urged people to flee to high land or the top of a nearby building as quickly as possible.

LARGER WAVES ARE EXPECTED- RESIDENT URGED TO FLEE TO HIGHER LAND

The tsunami waves could keep returning, according to the network, as warnings continued to be aired nearly an hour after the initial alert.

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A tsunami with waves of 1m high struck parts of the coast along the Sea of Japan, with a larger wave expected.

WAVES OF UP TO 5M ARE EXPECTED

The Japanese government will hold a news conference later in the day, with reports of any damage not immediately available.

Here is a map published by the Japanese Meteorological Agency showing its latest warnings by area.

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The Japanese traffic authority has said that major highways have been closed near the epicenter of the quake.

A huge earthquake and tsunami had struck northeastern Japan on 11 March 2011, devastating towns and triggering nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima.

WHAT IS A TSUNAMI?

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According to National Geographic, a tsunami is a series of ocean waves that sends surges of water, sometimes reaching heights of over 100 feet (30.5 meters), onto land. 

These walls of water can cause widespread destruction when they crash ashore.

WHAT CAUSES A TSUNAMI? 

These awe-inspiring waves are typically caused by large, undersea earthquakes at tectonic plate boundaries. 

“When the ocean floor at a plate boundary rises or falls suddenly, it displaces the water above it and launches the rolling waves that will become a tsunami.” 

the report states. 

Most tsunamis–about 80 percent–happen within the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a geologically active area where tectonic shifts make volcanoes and earthquakes common.

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Underwater landslides or volcanic eruptions may also cause tsunamis. They may even be launched, as they frequently were in Earth’s ancient past, by the impact of a large meteorite plunging into an ocean.

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