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No tsunami threat from 8.3-magnitude earthquake off Russia


A strong, deep earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 8.3 struck in the Sea of Okhotsk off the Russian coast Thursday night, but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there is no threat of a destructive tidal wave to Hawaii.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the epicenter about 252 miles west-northwest of Petropavlovsk, Russia, and 1,475 miles north-northeast of Tokyo at a depth of 373 miles at 7:44 p.m. Hawaii time.

Tremors felt as far away as Moscow, about 4,400 miles west of the epicenter in the Kuril-Kamchatka arc, one of the most seismically active regions in the world.

Emergency agencies in the Far East issued a tsunami warning for Sakhalin and the Kuril islands, but lifted it soon afterwards.

Russian news agencies reported that residents of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Okhotsk Sea felt the tremors for about five minutes. Residents ran out of the buildings. School children were evacuated.

Tremors were felt in Moscow, prompting some people to evacuate from buildings across the city.

Tremors are extremely rare in Moscow, the last recorded instance was in the 1977. The Russian Meteorological Service confirmed these reports but said they did not have immediate information about the magnitude of the tremors of Moscow.

Russian news agencies also cited eyewitnesses reporting strong tremors across Siberia.

The epicenter is off the west side of Kamchatka rather than off the east coast, in the Pacific.

In November 1952, an 9.0 quake off the eastern side of the island generated a tsunami that hit Midway, Hawaii, Alaska, Chile and New Zealand. Damage and livestock losses in Hawaii were estimated at up to $1 million in 1952 dollars, but there were no human casualties.

A summary by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the waves hitting Hawaii “destroyed boats and piers, knocked down telephone lines, and caused extensive beach erosion,” adding, “In some locations, tsunami waves were destructive in certain locations but hardly noticeable at others. The north shore of the Island of Oahu experienced higher waves of up to 4.5 meters. On the south shore of the island, the tsunami was powerful enough to throw a cement barge in the Honolulu Harbor into a freighter. The island of Hawaii experienced run up to 6.1 meters. In Hilo, a small bridge connecting Coconut Island to the shore was destroyed by one of the tsunami waves lifting it off its foundation, then smashing it down.”

Another quake off the eastern coast of Kamchatka caused damage and one death in Hawaii in 1923.

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