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6.6 quake rocks Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka Region

A powerful 6.6-magnitude earthquake rocked Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka peninsula, some 80 kilometers north east of Ust-Kamchatsk.

The quake occurred in the Bering Sea, just off the eastern coast of Kamchatka on Wednesday afternoon (4:09am GMT), Kamchatka’s branch of the Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences told Interfax.

“Residents of the Klyuchi and Kozyrevsk of the Ust-Kamatsky villages experienced this earthquake with a five points magnitude,” the representative of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.

The Sakhalin Tsunami Center has warned the earthquake can possibly trigger local tsunami waves of up to 1.5 meters, TASS reports, adding that waves could reach North-Kurilsk island within two hours.

"We declared a tsunami threat based on seismic data," a spokesman from the Petropavlovsk Tsunami center told Sputnik, noting that the Ust-Kamchatsky and Nikolskoye villages in the Aleut region are located in the immediate threat zone. However, Russia's Emergencies Ministry said there was no tsunami threat.

While there is no major threat to the Sakhalin coast line, experts from the center are monitoring the situation. Meanwhile, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has said there’s no tsunami threat to American Samoa from this earthquake.

The quake was also recorded by the US Geological Survey, which initially reported it as 7.0 magnitude but later revised it to 6.6. There is no immediate word of any casualties or destruction.

The earthquake happened in the vicinity of the Kambalny volcano which unexpectedly started spewing ash several days ago after waking from a 250 year period of inactivity. The area around the volcano in Kamchatka has been put on alert. The volcano still remains active as the ash rose to an altitude of over 7,000 meters above sea level.

The Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Volcanology and Seismology had already notified air traffic controllers of potential dangers the volcano could cause to nearby aircraft.

The quake struck along the Kuril-Kamchatka Arc which extends some 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The arc sits in the region where the Pacific plate subducts lies beneath the Okhotsk mircoplate.

According to the USGS, this "subduction" is responsible for the generation of volcanoes along the entire Arc. The Kuril-Kamchatka Arc is one of the most seismically active regions in the world.

Newly identified fault could set off 7.4 earthquake in Southern California
by Lauren Williams, Orange County Register

Two earthquake faults known for decades as potential threats to Southern California have been re-evaluated by scientists, who on Tuesday said the pair actually are a single fault that is capable of more damage than previously believed.

The re-identified fault, which includes the Newport-Inglewood and Rose Canyon lines, runs between Los Angeles and San Diego and could set off a 7.4-magnitude quake, according to a report published Tuesday in the Journal of Geophysical Research by scientists from UC San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

In their report, the scientists noted the fault “poses a significant hazard to coastal Southern California” because it runs close to some of the most densely populated parts of the country.

“In the past, a lot of people maybe just weren’t concerned about faults that are offshore,” said the study’s lead author, Valerie Sahakian, now a postdoctoral fellow at the Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park.

She said that while much attention has been paid to the San Andreas fault, which has more movement and runs through much of California, people are less vigilant about many other potentially powerful fault lines that cover Southern California and could “pose a significant threat to other communities.”

A 7.4 earthquake would be significantly bigger than any recent quake to hit the region.

The Northridge quake in 1994 measured at a magnitude of 6.7. It killed 57 people and caused more than $20 billion in damage. The El Mayor-Cucapha quake that hit Baja California, Mexico, in 2010 was measured as a magnitude-7.2 event and displaced 35,000 people.

“That’s pretty big,” Sahakian said, of the potential quake that could be generated by the new Newport/Rose fault. “That would be a situation, depending on how close you are to it and what type of soil you’re on; that could be pretty heavy shaking.”

The Newport/Rose fault runs offshore between San Diego Bay and Newport Beach. Between Newport Beach and Seal Beach, it runs underground, parallel to the coast, before moving inland to Culver City.

Though most of the fault is offshore, it’s never more than 4 miles from the coastline. The fault is broken into four main strands separated by three so-called stepovers, or horizontal breaks that are less than 2 kilometers wide.

News of the newly identified fault – and the potential danger it poses – didn’t faze at least one emergency-preparation expert.

“Regardless of any new discoveries, we live in a seismic zone; we should all be prepared for earthquakes. There’s no denying that. We are in earthquake country,” said Donna Boston, director of emergency management for Orange County.

“The hard part is getting people to do it. It’s the same things we keep drilling home every time: Have a kit. Have a plan. Be informed. Those are the critical pieces.”

Scientists determined that the Newport/Rose fault was a single line by re-examining existing data and running new seismic tests. Those tests identified the so-called “architecture” of the single fault and provided detail that made it possible to re-estimate the fault’s power potential with greater certainty.

With their new data, earthquake researchers think there’s a greater likelihood that different parts of the fault could rupture at the same time, but they did not say if any specific stretch of the Newport/Rose fault is due for a temblor.

Also, because of the formation of the sea floor, scientists don’t think the Newport/Rose fault is likely to trigger a significant tsunami.

The last major earthquake on the Newport/Rose fault was the 1933 magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Long Beach. That event killed 115 people and spurred changes in, among other things, school construction.

Researchers found that there have been between three and five earthquakes along the northern part of the fault line in the last 11,000 years. There is evidence the southern end of the fault generated a significant quake about 400 years ago.

Thousands dead in clashes between Nigerian farmers and herdsmen
African Independent

More than 2 000 Nigerian villagers have reportedly been killed over the past year following attacks blamed on nomadic herdsmen.

The Assessment Capacities Project (Acaps), a humanitarian crises think tank, said that in 2016 alone, at least 800 people were killed in southern Kaduna and 1 269 in Benue State, where herders invaded at least 14 of the 23 local government areas (LGAs).

At least 200 people have been killed this year.

Since 2015, at least 62 000 people have been displaced in Kaduna, Plateau, and Benue states. Internally displaced persons sheltered in poor communities, placing additional strain on scarce resources.

At least 132 818 people are said to be facing food insecurity in Benue, 167 561 in Plateau and 212 348 in Kaduna.

Displaced communities were exposed to harsh weather conditions and in need of shelter due to the destruction of their houses.

Abduction and attacks have been reported for years with Fulani herders implicated. Many communities in affected states are living under the threat of severe insecurity.

It is feared the conflict, which was previously limited to the Middle Belt, may be spreading. “The humanitarian impacts are expected to worsen,” Acaps stated.

The Nigerian Army averted on Thursday what could have been another round of deadly clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Bayelsa, in the south of the country.

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