Beijing: Local officials and seismologists said on Saturday that a series of strong earthquakes occurred in northwest and southwest China, killing at least two people.
Qinghai Province in the northwestern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Yunnan Province in southwestern China are both earthquake-prone areas. And both shocks are shallow, which means they usually cause more damage.
The Yunnan quake, which had a magnitude of 6.1, struck first at 9:48 pm Friday (1348 GMT) near the city of Dali, a popular tourist destination, the US Geological Survey said. It was followed by at least two aftershocks, USGS said.
Two people were confirmed dead in the mountainous area, local officials said in a statement. Later on, state news agency Xinhua said at least 22 others had been injured.
Then a few hours later, at 1804 GMT, more than 1,200 kilometres away, a 7.3-magnitude quake jolted China s sparsely populated Qinghai province in the northwest, followed by an aftershock.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the remote area. Xinhua said the epicentre was located in Maduo County, and that officials believed only “a small number of houses” would be damaged.
The agency reported that emergency personnel and disaster relief teams were dispatched to two locations.
In Yunnan, the provincial government said that some buildings had collapsed and others had been damaged. “The disaster situation is being further verified.”
It said that more than 20,000 people have been evacuated. There are more than 100,000 people living in the area, most of them in rural communities.
Local media released some videos showing chandeliers swinging and vases falling from shelves, as well as a group of people running outdoors after the earthquake.
The China Earthquake Network Center (CENC) warned people to “keep away from buildings” in a post on a Twitter-like Weibo platform.
Earthquake monitors said that less than an hour before the earthquake occurred, a series of smaller earthquakes occurred.
China is often hit by earthquakes, especially in its western and southwestern mountainous areas.
A powerful 7.9-magnitude quake in southwest Sichuan province in 2008 left 87,000 people dead or missing.
In February 2003, a powerful 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Xinjiang and caused significant damage.
In 2010, a 6.9-magnitude quake in Qinghai left 3,000 people dead or missing.
And in October 2014, hundreds of people were injured and more than 100,000 displaced after a 6.0-magnitude tremor hit Yunnan, close to China s borders with Myanmar and Laos.