Map of earthquake today (April 7, 2014) in southern France.
An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 5.0 shook southern France today (April 7), according to France's National Seismic Monitoring Network.
The earthquake's epicenter was about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the resort city of Nice and 69 miles (111 km) from Monaco. The quake originated 7 miles (11 km) deep and struck at 9:27 p.m. local time (19:27 UTC), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports.
The USGS automated earthquake detection network calculated a preliminary magnitude of 4.7 for the temblor.
There were no immediate reports of damage, according to Reuters.
Earthquakes in southern France primarily result from the ongoing collision between the African and European tectonic plates. The plates are crashing together at a rate of 0.2 inches (5 millimeters) per year.
Earthquakes of this size are often felt across a wide area and may cause minor to moderate damage, such as cracked plaster. They can cause significant damage in areas with outdated building standards. But the damage caused by any single event depends on the quake's depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake. The USGS frequently updates the magnitude of an event after more data is analyzed.
An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.
This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. Find more earthquake news here.