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Powerful earthquakes hit Kamchatka and Peru

A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.8 off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula triggered a tsunami warning but the threat has now passed, the US Geological Survey and US Pacific Tsunami Center said.

The quake struck at 11:34 am on Tuesday (2334 GMT on Monday) some 125 miles (200 km) from the city of Nikolskoye on Bering island off the Kamchatka Peninsula. The epicenter was west of Attu, the westernmost and largest island in the Near Islands group of Alaska’s remote Aleutian Islands.

The earthquake was very shallow, only 6 miles (10 km) below the seabed, which would have amplified its effect, but it was far from any mainland and there were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage.

The Kamchatka branch of Russia’s emergency situations ministry had warned that waves up to 50 cm (1-2/2 feet) high could reach Nikolskoye.

The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had warned earlier that “hazardous tsunami waves were possible for coasts within 300 km (186 miles) of the earthquake epicenter.” But it later said that based on all available data the tsunami threat from this earthquake had passed.

The quake was initially reported as a magnitude 7.7 before being revised down to 7.4 and finally upgraded to 7.8, a major quake normally capable of causing widespread and heavy damage when striking on or near land.

The quake was followed by numerous aftershocks, including several above magnitude 5.0.

A second earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.4 struck off the coast of Peru on Monday, the US Geological Survey said, though Peru’s civil defense institute Indeci said there was no risk of a tsunami and no immediate damage.

The quake, which was initially measured by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center at 6.3, was 44 km (27 miles) deep and centred 194 km (120 miles) southwest of Puquio, Peru, the USGS said.

The quake was felt in Peru’s second largest city of Arequipa and in northern Chile, local media reported.

Mining company Southern Copper had no reports of damage at its two mines in southern Peru, company spokesman Guillermo Vildalón said.

Arequipa region’s President Yamila Osorio said on Twitter authorities were monitoring rocks that had fallen on local roads.

Though the earthquake appeared not to have caused injuries, residents of small towns like Caravelí were startled and ran out of their homes, Caraveli mayor Santiago Neyra told local radio station RPP.

Earlier on Monday a magnitude 7.8 magnitude earthquake off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula triggered a tsunami warning but the threat soon passed, the US Geological Survey and US Pacific Tsunami Center said.

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