Scientists say a powerful undersea earthquake off Russia's eastern coast today caused automated monitoring systems to falsely indicate small temblors in Idaho and California.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the real quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck the Sea of Okhotsk on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. It was centered at a depth of about 300 miles.
That jolt caused computerized seismic stations in the western United States to send out false quake reports including a magnitude-4.8 quake in southeastern Idaho and a magnitude-3.8 in central California.
Geophysicist Julie Martinez of the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden says the false reports were deleted after seismologists reviewed the computer records.