Earthquake hits Russian Far East, oil deliveries to China halted
A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.4 struck Russia's Far East on Friday, shutting down a pipeline delivering oil to China and temporarily halting rail traffic, dpa reported.
The tremble hit at approximately 4:10 pm (0710 GMT) with an epicentre near the towns Skovorodino and Takhamgyda, some 8,000 kilometres east of Moscow in Russia's Amur province.
A total 11,000 people live in the two towns. There were no early reports of casualties or major damage.
Operation of a pipeline carrying oil to China via tankers loading in the Pacific Ocean port Kozymino was halted.
Workers were on the scene and deliveries were likely to start up again by Saturday, said Igor Demin, spokesman for the Russian state-owned oil pipeline company Transneft.
The earthquake also knocked out electricity supplies in parts of the Amur region, and stopped traffic along a section of the Trans-Siberian railroad for approximately an hour, the Interfax news agency reported.
A spokesman for the Russian railroad said the earthquake appeared primarily to have broken electrical contacts at some locations, and that the railroad line itself appeared not to be damaged.
A smaller 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit Russia's central Siberian Buryatia Republic, some 5,500 kilometres east of Moscow, 22 minutes after the Amur province earthquake. No damage or casualties were reported.