YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, RUSSIA (BNO NEWS) -- A powerful earthquake struck the Sea of Okhotsk off the Russian island of Sakhalin on early Tuesday afternoon, seismologists said, with the tremor felt as far away as Tokyo. There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
The 7.4-magnitude earthquake at 12:59 p.m. local time (0259 GMT) was centered in the sea about 169 kilometers (105 miles) northeast of Poronaysk, a town in the Poronaysky District on Sakhalin island, or about 365 kilometers (226 miles) northeast of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. It struck about 580 kilometers (360 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the Geophysical Survey of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the strength of the earthquake at 7.7 on the moment magnitude scale (MMS), but estimated it was centered at a depth of about 625 kilometers (388 miles). It said there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage due to the tremor's depth.
The earthquake, one of the strongest earthquakes in the world so far this year, was felt on Sakhalin island and parts of northern Japan. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), which put the magnitude at 7.3 on the Richter scale, said very light shaking was felt as far away as the capital Tokyo.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, and both JMA and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a tsunami. "A destructive tsunami was not generated based on earthquake and historical tsunami data," the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a bulletin, adding that no tsunami watches or warnings were in effect.
On August 2, 2007, two people were killed and ten others were injured when two shallow earthquakes measuring 6.2 and 5.9 on the Richter scale struck the southern tip of Sakhalin island. The quakes destroyed hundreds of houses and other buildings, leaving more than 2,000 people homeless. It was followed days later by a light earthquake, injuring two more.
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