Seismically speaking, 1978 began slowly. The first major earthquake (magnitude 7.0 and above) of the year occurred on February 9 and was centered in the Kermadec Islands region in the South Pacific Ocean. The first destructive earthquake of the year strukc southern Honshu, Japan, on January 14. The magnitude 6.5 earthquake caused considerable damage and loss of life.
The United States experienced a number of earthquakes during this reporting period, but only very minor damage and no casualties were reported.