GIDDINGS, Texas -- A state lab near Austin felt tremors from a 7.3 magnitude earthquake nearly half a world away.
Supersensitive scales at the Texas Department of Agriculture's metrology lab in Giddings picked up shockwaves Friday's 45 minutes after the quake struck the Kuril Islands. The chain of Russian islands is in the Pacific Ocean northeast of Japan.
The lab is about 50 miles east of Austin - and nearly 6,000 miles from Russia.
The United States Geological Survey Center confirmed the tremors in Giddings were from the quake in Asia. The quake happened in a sparsely populated area, and no injuries were reported.
The Giddings lab calibrates equipment used for the ordinary - such as weighing tomatoes at a grocery store or pumping fuel at a gas tank - and the not-so-ordinary, such as keeping time on an atomic clock.