The Okhotsk Sea quake registered 8.3 on the Richter Scale at a depth of 600km, and prompted a tsunami warning.
'The whole plate - on which the continent stands - shook,' said Anatoly Tsygankov, of the Rosgidromet environmental monitoring service. Picture: gazeta.ru
The warning, for Sakhalin Island, was soon withdrawn and there were no reports of casualties or damage despite the immense power of the earthquake.
'The whole plate - on which the continent stands - shook,' said Anatoly Tsygankov, of the Rosgidromet environmental monitoring service.
'And this movement of the continental plate was felt all over Russia - not just in Moscow, we received calls from Nizhny Novgorod and other cities.'
In the capital of Kamchatka region, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, around 350 km away, the quake registered a magnitude of 5.
Across Siberia, there were tremors - with aftershocks of 2 on the Richter Scale recorded in Krasnoyarsk, Tomsk and Novosibirsk, according to the Emergency Situations Ministry.
'In Moscow, the earthquake was felt on the top floors of high-rise buildings,' said a spokesman.
It is the first time since 1984 that the capital has suffered such aftershocks. In the east, the quake was felt in Japan. Across Russia, airports, railways, schools, kindergartens, hospitals and other key sites in the affected regions were being checked for damage.
More than 2,000 'operational groups' completed the work in Siberia and the Far East. Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov warned of further aftershocks.
'Seismologists are working on a concrete forecast. There will surely be aftershocks,' he said. 'We are inspecting the most dangerous sections of Siberia - the Kemerovo and Krasnoyarsk regions, Tyva and in some other regions'.
'It is unlikely that the breaks appeared on the earth's surface and despite the declared threat of tsunami, we should not await huge waves'. Picture: Alexey Yemanov via copah.info
'We can see that there is an active seismic zone to the east of the (Kamchatka) peninsula and we could expect tremors of magnitude 8.3', said Alexey Yemanov, Chief of the Regional Seismology Laboratory of the Altai-Sayani Branch of the Russian Geophysical Service, speaking to the media centre of the Siberian Branch of Russian academy of science.
'The area where the seismic shocks occurred today was unexpecteds. So we did not await any earthquakes there.
'The seismic shocks occurred at a big depth, according the preliminary estimates some 597 km.
'It is unlikely that the breaks appeared on the earth's surface and despite the declared threat of tsunami, we should not await huge waves.
'However, after this earthquake (usually such a strong shocks occur once a year), different seismic waves cover the entire globe and are registered by all the seismic stations on the planet.
'Personally I did not feel the quake being on the 4th floor of my Institute.
'Why did people feel it in different places? We should take into consideration the differences of ground and the differences in the configuration of buildings'.
With as few as 70 left in the wild, evidence of poachers targeting species is likely to be a concern.