Strong and shallow magnitude 6.8 earthquake struct the region of southwestern Siberia in Russia on February 26 at 06:17:19 UTC (13:17:19 by local time) according to EMSC. Epicenter was located 114 km east of Kyzyl, 91 km east of Kaa-khem and 41 km northeast from Saryg-sep with population of 4,582 people (51.75 N ; 96.04 E) at depth of 10 km. The nearest populated places are: Karaus (9km), Kara Khem (13km). The closest civilian airport is Kyzyl (100km). USGS recorded 6.7 magnitude with depth of 11.7 km (7.3 miles). Russian local seismic agencies reported magnitude 6.6. GEOFON reported 6.5 magnitude at depth of 10 km.
This earthquake happened in the same area and with almost the same magnitude as 6.5 earthquake on December 27 2011 with epicenter 120 km from Kyzyl. After the December 27 earthquake many weeks of moderate to sometimes strong aftershocks were occurring in the area. Some structures in Kyzyl were already weakened by the December 27 earthquake. Many houses and apartment buildings had cracks in the walls. It is currently winter in Siberia and temperatures are often -30 °C or even colder. People will be obliged to stay outside their houses for at least 48 hours out of fear for aftershocks.
The earthquake has been felt all over Mongolia. It was well felt over 8 Russian regions, but no damage reported so far. A faulty transformer has occurred in Tuva – possibly as a result of the earthquake according to Earthquake Report. Emergency services are also checking critical infrastructure in the epicentral region. The earthquake shocks were felt at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant, Russia’s largest.
Featured image credit: Eugene Dokuchits