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Powerful Earthquake Strikes Russia

earthquake map
Map of earthquake location today (May 24, 2013) in Russia. (Image credit: USGS.)

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 8.3 struck today off the coast of Russia's Far East, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The powerful temblor shook the country all the way to Moscow and triggered a tsunami warning, but caused no casualties or major damage, AFP reported.

The quake's epicenter was in the Sea of Okhotsk, off the Kamchatka Peninsula, and was 202 miles away (325 km) west-northwest of the city Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It struck at 5:49 p.m. local time (7:49 UTC) and originated 307 miles (494 km) deep, the USGS reports.

Historically, big quakes at such great depths in the region have not caused damage, the USGS said.

Elsewhere, events of this size can cause localized devastation. 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 Kuril-Kamchatka Arc, where the quake struck, is a seismic hotspot. It marks the region where the Pacific plate dives under, or subducts beneath the Okhotsk microplate, which is actually a part of the larger North America plate, according to the USGS. In the past century, the region has seen many large earthquakes, greater than 7.0 in magnitude.

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.

Live Science Staff
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