CHINA: A magnitude of 6.8 earthquakes struck the Chinese province of Sichuan on Monday, the strongest quake to jolt the province since 2013. The aftermath of the tremor was felt in the provincial capital of Chengdu and hundreds of kilometres away in the cities of Xian and Changsha.
The media reported property damage, but no information about suspected casualties came to the fore.
The quake’s epicentre was at the town of Luding at a depth of 16 km (10 miles), the China Earthquake Networks Centre said, about 226 km (140 miles) southwest of Chengdu, a city of about 21 million people.
“The shaking was quite strong, and it lasted for a while,” said Shirley Li, who lives on the 30th floor of an apartment block in Chengdu, currently under a COVID-19 lockdown, after suffering summer heatwaves.
“It’s been a hard time for us – heatwaves, the COVID lockdown and now the earthquake.”
Minutes later, another aftershock of magnitude 4.2 was reported in Yaan city, about 100 km (60 miles) southwest of Chengdu.
Tremors and jolts arising out of an earthquake are commonplace and frequent in the terrains of the southwestern province of Sichuan, especially its mountainous regions in the west. The area is tectonically volatile along the eastern boundary of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau.
The Tibetan plateau is a sensitive zone and is heavily prone to strong earthquakes since it sits right over the place where the tectonic Eurasian and Indian plates meet. These tectonic plates often collide with colossal force, resulting in severe earthquakes affecting nearby regions.
The shocks felt in Luding were so severely strong that many found it challenging to stay on land, while fissures and cracks appeared in the corner of buildings, according to state media, China News Service.
Social media visitors showed lights swinging about as frantic people rushed out of buildings and piled into the streets.
According to state television, a total of 39,000 people live within a 20-km (12.5 miles) radius of the epicentre and 1.55 million within a 100-km (62 miles) radius.
The recent quake was the biggest one since 2013, when a magnitude of 7.0 struck Yaan city, killing more than 100 people and wounding thousands.
“We heard the alarm sound via speakers 20 or 30 seconds before the earthquake,” said a Chengdu resident surnamed Yang.
Yang added that speakers broadcasting urgent information about earthquake alarms are installed in kindergartens and primary schools.
China’s earthquake trajectory also reports the existence of the infamous 8.0 quake of May 2008, which targeted Wenchuan, killing 70,000 of its population and causing extensive damage.
According to social media posts, Monday’s quake was felt as far away as Changsha in Hunan province and Xian in Shaanxi province.
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