Seismological expedition heads for Altai quake epicentre

A seismological expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences Geophysics Institute's Siberian Department is heading for the epicentre of an earthquake that hit the republic of Altai (south of Siberia) last Saturday.

Doctor of geological and mineralogical sciences, director of the Institute's geophysical service Viktor Seleznyov told a Tuesday press conference that scientists would have to study the consequences of the powerful underground tremor in its immediate epicentre, collect documentary data and witnesses' evidence, assess the degree of crust change and the nature of destruction.

"All this is necessary to establish the dynamics and mechanisms of processes underway in the depth of the crust. This will make it possible to give long-term and medium-term forecasts of a possible earthquake repetition," Seleznyov said.

According to the data of the Altai-Sayany methodical seismological expedition, the first tremor in the earthquake epicentre, near the village of Kosh-Agach, had an MM X intensity (on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale).

Tremors were also felt in other Siberian regions. In particular, three tremors were registered in Novosibirsk, the first one having an MM V intensity.

The earthquake was a rare event for the Novosibirsk region, which is not among seismically active areas. Scientists believe such tremors may take place once in 150 years there.

"The observation stations have registered some 300 tremors for the recent days. But they are of a fading nature," the geophysical service director pointed out.

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