AGENCIES, Moscow: A 7.2-magnitude quake struck Russia’s Far East region on Wednesday afternoon local time prompting a tsunami warning for the sparsely populated region off the Kuril Islands. The quake was felt across the region, with a depth of 56.7km. There have been no reports of damage or casualties as of yet.
The incident also triggered a tsunami alert in Hawaii, 5,600km away, but it was soon called off, with the US National Tsunami Warning Center concluding there was no danger to the small Pacific island chain.
A tsunami alert was also issued for Severo-Kurilsk District of Russia’s Sakhalin Region, said the local branch of the Geophysical Survey of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Striking in the Pacific Ocean 219km southeast of Severo-Kurilsk – a small town with a population of just over 2,500 on the northern end of the Kuril Islands – the quake was initially reported as magnitude 7.8, but was soon revised down to 7.5 by the USGS. The Russian Academy of Sciences’ Geophysical Survey reported it as 7.2.
Meteorological officials in Japan issued no alerts, although they said there might be slight tidal changes. The four southernmost islands of the Kuril chain – Habomai, Shikotan, Etorofu and Kunashiri – have been disputed between Moscow and Tokyo since the end of WW II.
Frightened locals took to social media providing first-hand accounts of the event that has sent ripples across the region.