Tsunami threat remains for Russia after quake off Kuril Islands

(Reuters) – Residents in the northern part of Russia’s Kuril Islands remain under threat from tsunami after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast, but emergency services reported small waves and no casualties or damage.

Meteorological authorities in Japan issued no tsunami alerts while U.S. authorities canceled a warning for Hawaii after the earthquake hit near the Kurils, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk.

“A tsunami wave arrived in Severo-Kurilsk at 1515 Sakhalin [region] time (0415 GMT),” Russia’s emergency services said. “The wave height was about 50 cm (20 inches).”

Residents will remain in a safe zone on higher ground, the emergency services said, while the tsunami threat remains, adding a decision to cancel the alarm will be made by specialists after the low tide starts.

The U.S Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the country’s West Coast, Alaska and Canada’s British Columbia didn’t face any tsunami danger from the quake.

Some of the U.S. coastal areas may experience non-damaging sea level changes, the agency added.

The Japan Meteorological Association also said there might be slight tidal changes but said no warnings or even watch advisories had been issued.

The earthquake, 218 km (135 miles) south-southeast of the town of Severo-Kurilsk, struck at a depth of 56.7 km (35 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The USGS had initially said the quake measured 7.8, but revised that figure down to 7.5.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Alexander Marrow in Moscow; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Gerry Doyle

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