Large earthquake strikes the Kuril Islands

April 19th, 2009 - 7:07 am ICT by admin  

KURIL ISLANDS (BNO NEWS) – A major earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 to 6.8 struck off the Kuril Islands in Russia’s Sakhalin Oblast region on Saturday, but struck to far from the coast to cause any damage.

“According to our best estimates, about 1,000 people may have felt the quake at an intensity of 2,” a spokesman for the United States Geological Survey said. He said there were no reports of damage of casualties.

No tsunami warnings were issued following the earthquake, which struck at 12.18 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (7.18 a.m. local time), but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned that earthquakes of this size can sometimes generate local tsunamis “that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicenter”. The quake struck 21.7 miles deep, which makes it extremely shallow. Earthquakes near the surface are usually far more likely to cause serious damage.

The Kuril Islands reportedly inhabit some 16,800 people, most of them below the poverty line. Light shaking was also reported in some parts of Japan.

In 2007, an 8.3 magnitude earthquake generated a tsunami near the Kuril Islands. The tsunami reached as far as Crescent City, California, causing minor damage. However, there is no threat to the United States from this earthquake.

Neither the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center or the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre issued any tsunami warnings. “Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected,” a statement said.

Several tsunami warning centers put the magnitude of the earthquake at a 6.8, while the United States Geological Survey reported a 6.6 magnitude. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre had a 6.7 magnitude.

Meanwhile, the Australian Tsunami Warning Centre reported a mysterious earthquake in Darwin. More information can be found here.

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