Moderate earthquake hits Siberia

10th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A moderate earthquake of magnitude 5.5 hit Russia's Southern Siberia region Thursday morning, with its epicentre around 70 kilometres from the country's largest hydroelectric plant.

The quake had a magnitude of 5.5, the US geological survey said, while the Russian emergency ministry rated it 5.3, citing the Russian Academy of Sciences' geophysics service.

No casualties nor major damage had been reported, the emergency ministry said in a statement on its website.

The epicentre of the quake, which occurred at 12:35 pm (0535 GMT), was 170 kilometres south of the city of Abakan in the Khakasia region, more than 4,000 kilometres from Moscow.

The tremors were felt in five neighbouring Siberian regions, an emergency ministry official told the Interfax news agency.

The epicentre was just over 70 kilometres south of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant, a crumbling Soviet-era project where 75 people died in an accident in 2009.

Tremors of a magnitude of 3.9 were registered at the hydroelectric plant, but a check of the facilities revealed no damage to the dam, its operator Rushydro said on its website.

In August 2009 a disaster at the plant killed 75 workers, when technical failures caused a massive surge of water to flood the main turbine hall and drown those inside.

© 2011 AFP

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