A shallow earthquake registered by French central seismological office (BCSF) as M5.2 hit near the coast of La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime region), France at 06:46 UTC on April 28, 2016. The agency is reporting a depth 17 km (10.5 miles). EMSC is reporting ML5.0 at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). USGS registered it as M4.2 at a depth of 10 km.
According to the USGS, the epicenter was located 8 km (5 miles) W of Chatelaillon-Plage, 10 km (6.2 miles) SSW of La Rochelle, 23 km (14.3 miles) NW of Rochefort, 42 km (26.1 miles) S of Lucon and 408 km (253.5 miles) SW of Paris, France.
There are 1.4 million people living within 100 km (62 miles).
The shaking was felt within 200 km (124 miles) of La Rochelle.
According to ReNaSS seismologist Sophie Lambotte, Charente-Maritime is known for its seismic activity around the coast near the island île d’Oléron. She called the tremors reaching 5.2 on the Richter scale “a major earthquake”.
Lambotte added an earthquake over a magnitude of 5 had taken place on the coast of île d’Oléron in 1972, and another around 4.5 in 2005. "A significant seismic activity is also known more north, near Fontenay-le-Comte in the Vendée region."
According to media reports, witnesses have described feeling two strong tremors lasting several seconds. Buildings, including industrial sites and schools in La Rochelle, have been evacuated.
No casualties have been reported and the earthquake has only caused superficial damage.
Featured image credit: USGS
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