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May 2013

Russia -- administrative divisions

Russia -- administrative divisions

There was a magnitude 8.3 earthquake in the Sea of Okhotsk, off the coast of Kamchatka in eastern Russia. The earthquake occurred as a result of normal faulting at a depth of approximately 600 km. This deep section of the Pacific slab beneath the Sea of Okhotsk has hosted several large earthquakes in the past – four above M 6 within 200 km of the May 24 event since 1988.

Russia is the largest country in the world, with a total area of 17,098,242 sq km it is 1.8 times the size of the United States. The Kamchatka Territory is the far eastern peninsula of Russia, lying between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea. There are two parallel mountain ranges on the peninsula. The region is geologically active with 300 volcanoes (29 of them are live). Fishing is the chief industry of the territory. Volcanoes and earthquakes are the chief natural hazards facing the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Historically, the Principality of Moscovy (founded in the 12th century) was able emerge from over 200 years of Mongol domination and gradually conquered and absorbed surrounding principalities. In the early 17th century, the Romanov Dynasty continued this policy of expansion across Siberia to the Pacific. Under Peter I (1682-1725), hegemony was extended to the Baltic Sea and the Russian Empire became the new name of this large country. The Russian Empire was overthrown in 1917. The Communists soon formed the Soviet Union (USSR). In 1991, the USSR splintered into what is now Russia and 14 other independent republics.

To learn more about earthquakes, visit the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program.

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program; CIA World Factbook; The Columbia Gazetteer, 5/2013; 5/2013; 5/2013