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24 May, 2013 06:32

Tremors felt in Moscow as 8.2 quake rattles Russia's Sakhalin region

Tremors felt in Moscow as 8.2 quake rattles Russia's Sakhalin region

Tremors have been felt all across Russia and in Europe, following a major 8.2 earthquake in the Sakhalin region. Panicking Muscovites began calling security services, and some decided to leave their homes.

The residents informed security services of vibration and tremors that caused furniture and kitchen utensils to move. 

The magnitude of the tremors felt in Moscow was no higher than 1 on the Richter scale, the Agency of Hydrometeorological and Environmental monitoring indicated.

The initial Sakhalin quake was followed by a 6.2 aftershock later in the day, with its epicenter located 623 kilometers under the Okhotsk Sea.

#землетрясение#earthquake in Moscow. Nielsen office evacuated. twitter.com/OSC75/status/3…

— Oleg Shishkov (@OSC75) May 24, 2013

Moscow residents wrote on Twitter about the tremors: “wasn’t really strong, but things hanging on the walls were shaking,” “the fourteenth floor of the Smolensky Passage [a large market in the city center] was noticeably shaking!” and “a house was shaking in the center of Moscow on Tverskaya street.”

“The aftershocks occurred in Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, in Europe – for instance, in Romania. Almost the entire continent was shaken,” Anatoly Tsygankov, the head of the Situation Center for Agency of Hydrometeorological and Environmental monitoring told Interfax news agency.

An employee at news website NEWSru.com recounted the Moscow tremor: “I have a flat on the 7th floor. At 9:43am I was sitting at my desk in front of the computer when the desk started shaking. We have a metro station underground, so I thought that something happened there. But the vibrations continued, and it became clear that everything was shaking like during an earthquake." The witness says there were at least three tremors; two strong ones, and another, weaker one. Then he started calling Emergency. When the operator answered, the reporter heard someone telling another operator their address, and he understood that the vibrations were happening all over Moscow. 

The scientists, however, are sure that there is nothing outstanding in the quake, but it's “deep – around 600 kilometers, in this situation tremors can be felt at long distances from the epicenter,” academic and scientist Alexander Soloviev explained.

Experts also pointed out that such a quake is unusual, although not impossible for the Russian capital: On March 4, 1977, Moscow was shaken by a 4.0-magnitude quake centered in the Carpathian Mountains.

The Kuril Islands environment (RIA Novosti / Sergey Krivosheyev)

Russia’s Emergency Ministry said that all of its departments are on high alert following the quake in the Okhotsk Sea.

“Our special attention is on the coastal area. The Ministry is going to watch out for the possible aftershocks. At the moment there’s absolutely no threat of tsunami, no buildings are destroyed, there are no injured and people are in no danger” Ministry representative Irina Rossius said.

Some Sakhalin region residents reported that they were unable to turn on electronic devices after the earthquake.

In the meantime, the seismic forecasters say that another quake with the magnitude of over 7 is expected to hit the Sakhalin region in the coming week.