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MISAWA, Japan — Several small earthquakes emanating from the depths of the Pacific Ocean shook Misawa residents over the Fourth of July weekend.

A 5.2 magnitude tremor occurred at 3:59 a.m. Saturday off the east coast of Aomori Prefecture and a magnitude 5.1 quake was recorded Sunday at 9:31 p.m. about 93 miles off the east coast of Hakodate on Hokkaido, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, Aomori Branch.

The former was 14 miles below the ocean floor, and the latter was 43 miles underground.

No injuries or damages were reported on or off base, said U.S. and Japanese officials.

The epicenter of Saturday’s temblor along the Pacific and North American plates is of special concern to scientists, who predict the tectonic zone off the east coast of northern Japan will produce a quake stronger than magnitude 7.0 within the next 30 years, according to Headquarter for Earthquake Research Promotion, which was organized after the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, that killed more than 6,000 people.

The colliding plates have recently caused daily tremors, said Yusuke Inoue of the Japan Meteorological Agency, Aomori Branch. A magnitude 4.1 quake occurred along the fault line Wednesday, Inoue said.

The shifting plates unleashed a magnitude 7.6 earthquake on Dec. 28, 1994, killing three people in Aomori Prefecture, injuring 692 and completely destroying 38 houses and damaging thousands more. There were also widespread power outages.

A Japan Meteorological Agency, Aomori Branch official said Monday that experts are unsure whether Sunday’s quake off Hokkaido was also caused by the colliding Pacific and North American plates.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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