Written by on . Last updated March 3rd, 2024.

In the late afternoon of Tuesday January 9th, 2024, a shallow and significant Magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit in the Sea of Japan 90 kilometer from Jōetsu, Japan. Around 13 million people have been exposed to shaking.

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Earthquake Summary

This earthquake hit under water in the Sea of Japan, 48 kilometers (30 mi) off the coast of Japan, 90 kilometer north-northwest of Jōetsu in Niigata. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 10 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Jan 9, 2024 17:59 (Tokyo Time)
- Jan 9, 2024 08:59 Universal Time.
Location: 90 km NNW of Jōetsu, Niigata, Japan.
Coordinates 37°52'22"N 137°46'51"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.9
Detected by 43 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.047 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
V
Moderate

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Low tsunami risk
Earthquakes under MAG-6.5 do not usually cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Minimal impact predicted

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 96% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 10 million USD.

Roughly 13 million people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 13 million people. That is the expected population size of the area exposed to a level of shaking of II or higher on the Modified Mercalli scale according to the USGS.

Moderate shaking and very light damage may have been experienced by an estimated 18,070 people. At V, it is the highest MMI level this earthquake has caused. Intensity level III was experienced by the majority of people (around 9 million). In their region, weak shaking and probably no damage can be expected. All exposure to shaking was within the borders of Japan .

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
10
II
Very weak None
9,127,000
III
Weak Probably none
4,012,000
IV
Light Likely none
18,070
V
Moderate Very light
0
VI
Strong Light
0
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

This earthquake may have been felt in Japan . Ryōtsu-minato in Niigata, Japan is the nearest significant place from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred 62 kilometer (39 mi) west-southwest of Ryōtsu-minato. Ryōtsu-minato experienced an earthquake intensity (MMI Scale) of roughly IV. That level implies light shaking and likely no damage.

Major cities near this earthquake: Tokyo is located 296 km to the south-east (intensity unknown, possibly low). Yokohama is located 318 km to the south-southeast (intensity unknown, possibly low). Niigata is located 108 km to the east and experienced an intensity of IV (light shaking, likely no damage).

The table below provides an overview of all places in proximity of today's earthquake. Where available, the estimated intensity on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale in each place is included. Places where this information is omitted likely experienced little impact.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
62 km (39 mi)
ENE from epicenter
Ryōtsu-minato

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
88 km (55 mi)
SE from epicenter
Kashiwazaki

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
90 km (56 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Jōetsu

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
94 km (58 mi)
S from epicenter
Itoigawa

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
98 km (61 mi)
E from epicenter
Maki

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
99 km (62 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Yoshida-kasugachō

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
103 km (64 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Tsubame

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
105 km (65 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Nagaoka

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
105 km (65 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Arai

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
107 km (66 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Sanjō

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
107 km (66 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Nyūzen

Toyama, Japan.
IV
Light
108 km (67 mi)
E from epicenter
Niigata

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
108 km (67 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Mitsuke

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
110 km (68 mi)
SE from epicenter
Ojiya

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
110 km (68 mi)
E from epicenter
Shirone

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
112 km (70 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Kurobe-shi

Toyama, Japan.
IV
Light
113 km (70 mi)
E from epicenter
Kamo

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
116 km (72 mi)
SW from epicenter
Nanao

Ishikawa, Japan.
IV
Light
117 km (73 mi)
E from epicenter
Kameda-honchō

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
118 km (73 mi)
E from epicenter
Niitsu-honchō

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
120 km (75 mi)
SE from epicenter
Tōkamachi

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
123 km (76 mi)
E from epicenter
Gosen

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
124 km (77 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Uozu

Toyama, Japan.
IV
Light
133 km (83 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Himimachi

Toyama, Japan.
III
Weak
135 km (84 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Nakano

Nagano, Japan.
IV
Light
136 km (85 mi)
E from epicenter
Shibata

Niigata, Japan.
IV
Light
140 km (87 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Toyama

Toyama, Japan.
IV
Light
141 km (88 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Nagano

Nagano, Japan.
III
Weak
142 km (88 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Takaoka

Toyama, Japan.
IV
Light
144 km (89 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Suzaka

Nagano, Japan.
IV
Light
169 km (105 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Ueda

Nagano, Japan.
III
Weak
175 km (109 mi)
SW from epicenter
Kanazawa

Ishikawa, Japan.
IV
Light
183 km (114 mi)
S from epicenter
Matsumoto

Nagano, Japan.
III
Weak
200 km (124 mi)
SE from epicenter
Maebashi

Gunma, Japan.
III
Weak
203 km (126 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Takasaki

Gunma, Japan.
III
Weak
230 km (143 mi)
E from epicenter
Yamagata

Yamagata, Japan.
235 km (146 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Kōriyama

Fukushima, Japan.
236 km (147 mi)
E from epicenter
Fukushima

Fukushima, Japan.
236 km (147 mi)
SE from epicenter
Utsunomiya

Tochigi, Japan.
III
Weak
244 km (152 mi)
SW from epicenter
Fukui-shi

Fukui, Japan.
III
Weak
255 km (158 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Kōfu

Yamanashi, Japan.
266 km (165 mi)
SE from epicenter
Kawagoe

Saitama, Japan.
274 km (170 mi)
E from epicenter
Sendai

Miyagi, Japan.
275 km (171 mi)
SE from epicenter
Saitama

Saitama, Japan.
282 km (175 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Hachiōji

Tokyo, Japan.
287 km (178 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Gifu-shi

Gifu, Japan.
287 km (178 mi)
SE from epicenter
Kawaguchi

Saitama, Japan.
288 km (179 mi)
NE from epicenter
Akita

Akita, Japan.
291 km (181 mi)
SE from epicenter
Mito

Ibaraki, Japan.
296 km (184 mi)
SE from epicenter
Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan.
300 km (186 mi)
SE from epicenter
Matsudo

Chiba, Japan.
309 km (192 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Nagoya

Aichi, Japan.
313 km (194 mi)
SE from epicenter
Kawasaki

Kanagawa, Japan.
318 km (198 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Yokohama

Kanagawa, Japan.
326 km (203 mi)
S from epicenter
Shizuoka

Shizuoka, Japan.
327 km (203 mi)
SE from epicenter
Chiba

Chiba, Japan.
340 km (211 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Yokkaichi

Mie, Japan.
356 km (221 mi)
NE from epicenter
Morioka

Iwate, Japan.
362 km (225 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Ōtsu

Shiga, Japan.
365 km (227 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan.
370 km (230 mi)
SW from epicenter
Toyooka

Hyōgo, Japan.
381 km (237 mi)
NE from epicenter
Hirosaki

Aomori, Japan.
390 km (242 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Hirakata

Ōsaka, Japan.
396 km (246 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Nara-shi

Nara, Japan.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The intensity in shaking and damage by this earthquake is illustrated through the map below. The highest intensity measured for this earthquake is V.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

Shaking reported by 14 people

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 14 people have reported shaking in 12 places, all within Japan.We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Niigata, Niigata, Japan: 2 people.
  • Kurosaki, Niigata, Japan: 2 people.
  • Kōriyama, Fukushima, Japan: 1 person.
  • Takayama, Gifu, Japan: 1 person.
  • Nakanojo, Gumma, Japan: 1 person.
  • Tsubata, Ishikawa, Japan: 1 person.
  • Jōetsu, Niigata, Japan: 1 person.
  • Shibata, Niigata, Japan: 1 person.
  • Saitama, Saitama, Japan: 1 person.
  • Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan: 1 person.

15 Aftershocks detected

After this earthquake struck, 15 smaller aftershocks occurred. A 4.5 magnitude earthquake hit 3 days later 64 km (39 mi) southwest of this earthquake.

Before this earthquake struck, 10 smaller foreshocks occurred. Roughly 2 days before this earthquake, a foreshock measuring MAG-4.5 was detected nearby this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 4.0 3 days earlier
Jan 6, 2024 18:23 (Tokyo Time)
94 km (58 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.9 3 days earlier
Jan 6, 2024 21:52 (Tokyo Time)
53 km (33 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.7 3 days earlier
Jan 7, 2024 05:19 (Tokyo Time)
59 km (37 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.5 2 days earlier
Jan 7, 2024 14:37 (Tokyo Time)
65 km (40 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.0 2 days earlier
Jan 7, 2024 23:44 (Tokyo Time)
94 km (58 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.5 2 days earlier
Jan 8, 2024 02:15 (Tokyo Time)
88 km (54 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.7 2 days earlier
Jan 8, 2024 02:59 (Tokyo Time)
80 km (50 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.8 1 day earlier
Jan 8, 2024 06:18 (Tokyo Time)
34 km (21 mi)
SSW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.5 23 hrs earlier
Jan 8, 2024 18:35 (Tokyo Time)
25 km (15 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 3.7 4 hrs earlier
Jan 9, 2024 14:19 (Tokyo Time)
34 km (21 mi)
SSW from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.9 Jan 9, 2024 17:59
(Tokyo Time)
-
Aftershock M 3.9 10 mins later
Jan 9, 2024 18:09 (Tokyo Time)
4 km (2.2 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.5 56 mins later
Jan 9, 2024 18:55 (Tokyo Time)
37 km (23 mi)
SE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.9 1 hr later
Jan 9, 2024 19:10 (Tokyo Time)
4 km (2.2 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 2 hrs later
Jan 9, 2024 20:10 (Tokyo Time)
8 km (5 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.5 9 hrs later
Jan 10, 2024 02:41 (Tokyo Time)
4 km (2.2 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.0 15 hrs later
Jan 10, 2024 08:54 (Tokyo Time)
4 km (2.2 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.6 15 hrs later
Jan 10, 2024 09:16 (Tokyo Time)
8 km (5 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.1 1 day later
Jan 10, 2024 20:00 (Tokyo Time)
87 km (54 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.0 1 day later
Jan 10, 2024 20:02 (Tokyo Time)
11 km (7 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.5 1 day later
Jan 10, 2024 23:44 (Tokyo Time)
87 km (54 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.1 1 day later
Jan 11, 2024 04:32 (Tokyo Time)
8 km (5 mi)
WNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.5 2 days later
Jan 11, 2024 12:21 (Tokyo Time)
4 km (2.2 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.6 2 days later
Jan 11, 2024 17:59 (Tokyo Time)
87 km (54 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.5 2 days later
Jan 12, 2024 05:54 (Tokyo Time)
35 km (21 mi)
SSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.5 3 days later
Jan 12, 2024 17:29 (Tokyo Time)
64 km (39 mi)
SW from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

Aftershocks are usually at least 1 order of magnitude less strong than main shocks. The more time passes, the smaller the chance and likely strength of any potential aftershocks.

It's always adviced to be cautious of the risk of a larger shock following any significant earthquake, however this risk is fairly small. There is a roughly 94 percent change that no larger main shock will follow in the days following this earthquake.

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this are common in the region

Earthquakes of this strength occur quite regularly in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since January 1st, 2024, when a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit 113 km (70 mi) further southwest. An even stronger magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck on January 1st, 2024.

In total, 7 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.9 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every year.

Low tsunami risk

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

Based on early data it appears this earthquake was not strong enough (lower than MAG-6.5) to be likely to cause destructive tsunami's. However this earthquake appeared to have hit at a shallow depth under sea, so stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake This earthquake appears to have struck under the sea. Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.9. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 10 km (6 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 03/03/24 04:58 (). This article is automatically generated based on available data. We keep checking multiple sources for additional information. This article gets updated as new details on this earthquake become available.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us6000m2ny
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240109_0000117
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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