Japan earthquake serves as reminder for those on the west coast, experts say


WATCH: An earthquake in Japan has killed four people and injured more than 300. Experts say it serves as a reminder for people on Vancouver Island of the dangers of living here.

Four people have been killed and more than 300 injured after an earthquake struck Japan’s second largest city.

The magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck Osaka around 8 a.m.

It led to significant damage in the city, cracking streets, breaking water mains and shaking offices.

The victims include a nine-year-old girl who was crushed by a concrete wall just outside her school, two women in their 80s who were killed by furniture and an 80-year-old man who was struck by a falling wall.

According to seismologist John Cassidy, the earthquake was damaging despite being a small one.

“The reason it was so damaging is it was shallow and it was very close to a population centre,” Cassidy said. “It’s the location of an earthquake [that] really makes all the difference in the world. If you take today’s earthquake and move it 50 kilometres away from population centres, people will feel the earthquake but there’s no damage.”

Experts say Japan lies in an earthquake-prone region, home to more than 100,000 earthquakes every year.

Vancouver Island, like Japan, is also part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and also sits in a subduction zone.

In the past, earthquakes have caused a great deal of damage here.

In 1946, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck west of Courtenay and Campbell River.

Two people died in the incident and many buildings were damaged.

And just this past January, an earthquake off the coast of Alaska prompted evacuations over fears of a tsunami.

With files from The Canadian Press and NBC News 




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