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Earthquakes Hit Impoverished Armenia

Two earthquakes in 24 hours shook the small Caucasus Mountains nation of Armenia a few days after neighboring Turkey suffered a major temblor, officials said Tuesday.

No casualties or major damages were immediately reported in the Armenian quakes, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Nikolai Grigorian said.

The first quake hit early Monday near the northern town of Ashotsk, close to the border with the fellow former Soviet republic of Georgia, Grigorian said. The quake was felt in Armenia’s capital Yerevan and several other regions, and in numerous Georgian towns.

Grigorian said seismology officials differed over whether it was a magnitude 5 or 6 quake. Russia’s main seismology center said it was magnitude 6.

The second quake, late Monday night, was centered near the border with Turkey, southwest of the Armenian town of Artashat. It had a magnitude of 4, Grigorian said.

The shocks came after a magnitude-6 quake hit rural central Turkey on Sunday, killing 43 and damaging or destroying 600 buildings.

Armenia sees frequent seismic activity, and saw a devastating quake in 1988 that killed at least 25,000 people and left about 700,000 homeless.

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