Strong earthquake strikes eastern Siberia

A strong earthquake took place on Thursday, December 10 in the Kabansky district of the Buryatia Republic (eastern Siberia), the press service of the Ministry of Emergencies in the Irkutsk region told Interfax.

The intensity at the epicenter was 7.6, the magnitude was 5.5, the energy class - 14.0.

The press service also said that the epicenter of the earthquake was located in the delta of Lake Baikal, to the northwest of the village of Dubinino. The tremors were felt in a number of districts, including in the city of Ulan-Ude. Small cracks were found afterwards in the buildings of 18 schools of the city. Cracks were also found in the buildings of several kindergartens. The damage caused does not pose a threat, Deputy Mayor of Irkutsk Vitaly Baryshnikov said.

Elena Kobeleva, the director of the Baikal branch of the Unified Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that the earthquake was the most powerful since 1999. According to her, the earthquake that struck in the morning of December 10 in the Irkutsk region was stronger than in Buryatia, because the Angara region is located on a platform that has a different geological structure.

Valery Ruzhich, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences, Chief Researcher at the Institute of the Earth's Crust of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper that vibrations of the earth's crust in the epicentre of the earthquake were horizontal, rather than vertical, which is a rare phenomenon for the region.

There were no reports of destruction or casualties.