Major Quake, Sea of Okhotsk

A major earthquake struck beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, north of the Kuril Islands this afternoon, New Zealand time.

The magnitude 7.5 quake was located 385 km west-north-west of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia (415 km north-north-west of Severo-Kuril’sk in the Kuril Islands) at 2:12 p.m. Saturday afternoon the 5th of July 2008 New Zealand time.

The quake was very deep at 605 km according to preliminary data, and showed clearly as several minutes of very light tremor on GeoNet’s seismometers between 2:25 and 2:35 p.m.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre, which reported the quake at magnitude 7.6 at a depth of 550 km, has issued bulletins for Hawaii and the Pacific advising that a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is NOT expected, based on historical data.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has reported the quake at magnitude 7.7 but has not issued a tsunami alert for Japanese territory. Some stations on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido reported shaking to JMA Seismic Intensity 2, which is regarded as “light” shaking. The quake was located about 2300 km north-east of Tokyo.

The areas near the epicentre are sparsely populated and casualties and damage from such a deep quake are thought to be unlikely.

[Compiled from data supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and its contributing agencies; and the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.]

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