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Earthquake Strikes 2014 Olympics Host Sochi

A gas pipeline blast followed by a mild earthquake has struck Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, which will host the 2014 Winter Olympics, a local government spokeswoman told Reuters on Wednesday.

Irina Gogoleva of Russia's Emergencies Ministry said no one was hurt and there was no apparent damage to the city's infrastructure after a 5.2 magnitude earthquake was reported at 2:42 a.m. local time on Wednesday (2242 GMT on Tuesday).

"The Emergencies Ministry servicemen scoured through the city districts, bridges and electrical cables, there was no damage," Gogoleva said, adding that the epicenter of the quake was some 150 kilometers (93 miles) off Sochi in the Black Sea.

In an unrelated incident, a gas pipeline that feeds a local power station exploded a couple of hours before the quake.

Gogoleva said the power plant had switched to fuel oil and the city was receiving electrical power. She said the reason for the blast was unknown.

Sochi, the first Russian city to have been awarded the Winter Olympics, is located on the coast close to Georgia, with whom Russia fought a brief war in 2008 over two breakaway regions. The wider volatile Caucasus region is a major source of political tension.

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