Magnitude 6.5 Earthquake Strikes Western China, Deaths Reported
BEIJING – An earthquake measuring 6.5 in magnitude struck China’s remote and mountainous southwestern province of Sichuan on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, causing four deaths and some damage to buildings in a tourist resort.
The quake struck in a sparsely populated area 200 km (120 miles) west-northwest of the city of Guangyuan at a depth of 10 km (6 miles), the USGS said. It had earlier put the quake at magnitude 6.6 and 32 km deep.
The Sichuan earthquake administration said the epicenter of the tremor was in Ngawa prefecture, largely populated by ethnic Tibetans, many of whom are nomadic herders, but also close to the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, a popular tourist destination.
Sichuan television said four people had died and more than 30 people had been injured in Zhangzha township, but noted the area has few permanent residents.
The area is frequently struck by earthquakes.
Pictures on state media-run social media sites showed some damage in Jiuzhaigou, with tiles having fallen from buildings and people gathering outdoors.
State television cited a resident in a village near Jiuzhaigou as saying no buildings had collapsed where he was, but that there had been strong shaking and people had fled outdoors.
A police official told state television that there had been some panic among the tourists when the quake hit.
The Sichuan government said on one of its official social media sites that they had received no reports of any injuries among the more than 38,000 tourists currently visiting Jiuzhaigou.
Shaking was felt in the provincial capital Chengdu and as far away as Xian, home of the Terracotta Warriors, according to users of Chinese social media.
A quake in Sichuan in May 2008 killed almost 70,000 people.