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Tsunami alert to be issued if quake measures at least 7,5

The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk seismological station has decided to issue a tsunami alert only when an earth quake measures at least 7.5 on the Richter scale. Before, the alert level was 7.0.

This decision was taken for Kurile residents not to be frightened again and again and not to have to go to mountains after every earth tremour, station head Alexander Spirin explained.

Since November 15, earth tremours have taken place only near the uninhabited islands of Simushir, Urup and Onekotan. No tremours were felt on the inhabited islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Paramushir.

The head of the Sakhalin tsunami centre, Tatyana Ivelskaya, said that the highest tsunami wave caused by the November 15 quake, which occurred near Simushir and measured 7.9, reached California. The wave was 176 centimetres high there.

Specialists suppose the wave in the epicenter was as high as four metres and it hit Simushir, but it can be confirmed only when people arrive at the island. Specialists determine a wave height by Pacific seaweeds washed ashore and other indications.

According to the information received by the Sakhalin tsunami centre, the Kurile wave that reached the Hawaii Islands was 152 centimetres high, and the wave height was 120 centimetres in Japan, 39 centimetres in Alaska and 60 centimetres in New Zealand. The wave that reached the settlement of Starodubskoye on Sakhalin was 20 centimetres high and a ten-centimetre wave from the quake came to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.

Sakhalin scientists say earthquakes after the powerful tremour will continue to hit the Kurile region for ten years. A quake measuring no less than 7.5 on the Richter scale may occur there in the next few weeks.

© Itar-Tass

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