A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.4 has struck the Bering Sea between American and Russian islands, seismologists say. Tsunami alerts have been issued for parts of Alaska and Russia’s Far East. The earthquake occur at 1:34 a.m. 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 U.S. 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. According to reports the earthquake 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. The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported the quake’s epicenter as being 335.5km north-west of Attu in Alaska, population zero, and 547.7km south-east of Klyuchi in Russia’s far east, population 10,000. A tsunami warning has been issued for Alaska’s Aleutian Islands after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Bering Sea between the US and Russia.