Siberian Earthquake

Very strong shallow and dangerous earthquake in Siberia – severe shaking reported

Last update: December 28, 2011 at 12:34 am by By 

Earthquake overview : A very strong earthquake (M 6.5 to M 7.0 following different sources) happened in the South Western part of Siberia. The epicenter was located in a sparsely populated wilderness area at a distance of 120 km from Kyzyl, a city with 109,000 inhabitants and the capital of the Tuva Republic.

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To read the full story as it happened, we advise our readers to start at the lower part of the page (earthquake data).

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Landscape in the greater epicenter area – Panoramio image courtesy Roman Petrov


Update 28/12 – 00:34 UTC
Overview of the reported magnitudes and depth from the seismological agencies reporting worldwide earthquakes :
RAS (RUS) – M 6.5 @ 10 km
USGS (USA) – M 6.6 @ 6.9 km
EMSC (Europe) – M 6.5 @ 10 km
GEOFON (Germany) – M 6.6 @ 10 km
CEN (China) – M 7.0 @ 10 km

Update 28/12 – 00:13 UTC
RAS (Russian Academy of sciences) has reported 3 aftershocks of 4.6 @ 10km; 4.3 @ 10 km and 4.9 @ 15 km

Update 28/12 – 00:13 UTC :  RT (English broadcasting) is reporting that Mr. Shoigu has said that themagnitude was raised to 9.5We do not believe this report. The Minister mentioned the number as MSK (almost equivalent to MMI and on a scale from 0-12).  A 9.5 magnitude at this shallow depth would have been totally destructive and damaging far beyond the epicenter. Kyzul suffered light to moderate shaking. As a result there might be some cracks in houses, but Kyzil (said to be at ca 100 km from the epicenter) had no severe damage or devastation.

Update  23:55  UTC : During the night, specialized rescue personnel from other areas have been transported to Kyzyl. They will leave as soon as possible to the epicenter area to assess the situation. The emergency minister was saying that many people had their second home in the greater epicenter area.  Having visited Siberia before i (Armand) know for sure that these houses are in 99% of the cases 1 level houses. Being the Siberian winter (freezing temperature at the moment is -20 to -30 °C) people will not be in these houses in great numbers. Our estimate is that there might be damage at these houses, but that apart of some accidental dead, the toll will be acceptable. This estimate is based upon the epicenter of USGS and the population numbers of GDACS ‘see below). Let us hope that we are right.

Update : The earthquake in Siberia is estimated at 9.5 MSK, according to Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Description IX MSK : Destructive – General panic. People may be forcibly thrown to the ground. Waves are seen on soft ground. Substandard structures collapse. Substantial damage to well-constructed structures. Underground pipelines ruptured. Ground fracturing, widespread landslides.

Update :  Magnitudes and focal depth are reported in different numbers by the different sources. Magnitude goes from 6.5 until 7.0. Focal depth ranges from 45 km to 6.9 km !

Update : The picture looks almost romantic, but bear in mind the people have to stay outside during the night at temperatures of -26 °C ! Luckily no fresh snow. Snow is however still on the streets. This is Siberia !

Update : MSK scale : The Medvedev-Sponheuer-Karnik scale is somewhat similar to the Modified Mercalli (MM) scale used in the United States. The MSK scale has 12 intensity degrees expressed in Roman numerals. The description of 8 MSK is as follows : Damaging / Many people find it difficult to stand, even outdoors. Furniture may be overturned. Waves may be seen on very soft ground. Older structures partially collapse or sustain considerable damage. Large cracks and fissures opening up, rockfalls. (source Wikipedia)

Update : 8 MSK at the epicentre according to RAS. Only 5 MSK at Kyzyl meaning that there is likely only minor damage.
In Novosibirsk, the intensity of the earthquake was to be 1.6 points. “This is the calculated data, while data from seismic stations, which
should fix the surface waves has been reported. As soon as they arrive and are processed, there will be more accurate, more likely, the strength of earthquakes will increase,” – said the RAS. According to Director of Geophysical Service (TOS), Siberian Branch of RAS Victor Seleznev, the epicenter of the earthquake was located in the upper Yenisei River east of the city of Kyzyl, in the area of Academician Obruchev. The scientist said that the shaking in Krasnoyarsk was 3-4 MSK, at the epicenter – 8 MSK.
(ER : 8 MSK means that there will be likely damage in the epicentral area – epicenter area damage has not been reported yet)

Update : According to the MOE, the epicenter of the earthquake was located 120 kilometers east of Kyzyl(Tuva). (ER : USGS reported the earthquake epicenter at 96 km from Kyzyl)

Update : According to preliminary data, there has been no deaths or destruction reported after the earthquake in Siberia , told RIA Novosti by telephone a representative of the Siberian Regional Emergency Center.

Update : Video from people having to spend the night outside their houses at a temperature of at least -20°C

Update : Residents of Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk and Khakassia felt the quake. The apartments had swaying chandeliers and furniture moving. People fled their homes. However, users of the Internet in their microblogs
reported outage of cellular communication in the area. Meanwhile it is reported that the earthquake in Siberia had no effect on the power plant there. (ER : these cities are several hundred km from the epicenter).

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