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Getty Images / Taro Karibe

Death Toll Rises After Japan Earthquakes As Aftershocks Continue

An intensive rescue operation is underway after back-to-back earthquakes on Japan's Kyushu Island killed dozens and injured thousands.

By Melissa Prax | April 16, 2016

Multiple earthquakes have killed dozens and injured thousands more on Japan's Kyushu Island.

The quakes started late Thursday night local time, when a magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck the island, killing at at least nine people.

Another more powerful earthquake hit Saturday morning local time. The U.S. Geological survey put that quake at a 7.0 magnitude.

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Saturday's quake also prompted a landslide and several aftershocks — the strongest of which measured at a 5.7 magnitude — again almost with the same epicenter.

So why is the same spot being hit repeatedly? Japan is in a region known as the Ring of Fire where tectonic plates make it susceptible to earthquakes.

Since the quakes, thousands have been evacuated and thousands more left without power.

The country has held emergency meetings since the first quake. On Saturday local time, the prime minister announced an intensive rescue effort as many are believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings.

A U.S. Department of State spokesman said the U.S. was willing to help. Japan's defense minister has reportedly told the country's Department of Defense to consider the offer.

This video includes clips from ANN NewsU.S. Department of StateKyodo NewsJIJI Press and FNN and images from Getty Images and Prime Minister of Japan

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