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Strong earthquake strikes off Kuril Islands

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "Two plates are basically coming together"
  • A 6.0 magnitude temblor struck nearly 1,000 miles northeast of Tokyo
  • The quake was considered "strong" by the USGS

(CNN) -- A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck Thursday east of the Kuril Islands, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake was located 423 kilometers (263 miles) east northeast of Kuril'sk, Kuril Islands; 774 kilometers (481 miles) east notheast of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan, and 1607 kilometers (998 miles) northeast of Tokyo, Japan, the USGS said in a preliminary report.

The Kurils, under Russian jurisdiction, are a chain of more than 50 islands in the northwest Pacific.

The quake struck at 9:48 a.m. (7:48 p.m. Wednesday ET) at a depth of 33 km (21 miles), which is a fairly shallow event, it added.

Though considered a "strong" shake, the location "is fairly remote," said Susan Potter, a USGS geophysicist in Golden, Colorado. "It's unlikely that this is a significant earthquake in regards to human impact," she said.

The location is one where earthquakes are common, she said, because the Pacific plate is moving underneath the Eurasian plate due to tectonic forces. "Two plates are basically coming together and one goes below," she said.