Powerful quake shakes southwest China; damage not yet known

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BEIJING — A strong earthquake shook part of southwestern China on Monday afternoon. It wasn’t immediately clear if it caused damage or injuries.

The 6.8-magnitude earthquake jolted Luding county in Sichuan province at 12:52 p.m., Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake measured 6.6 and was centered at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles). Preliminary measurements by different agencies often differ slightly. Shallower quakes tend to cause more damage.

Sichuan, which sits on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau where tectonic plates meet, is regularly hit by earthquakes. Two quakes in June killed at least four people.

“There was a strong earthquake in June, but it wasn’t very scary. This time I was really scared, because I live on a high floor and the shaking made me dizzy,” Chengdu resident Jiang Danli told The Associated Press.

Jiang hid under a desk for five minutes in her 31st floor apartment. She said many of her neighbors rushed downstairs.

Like most of Chengdu’s 21 million residents, Jiang cannot leave her residential compound due to China’s hard-line “zero-COVID” restrictions following a recent outbreak in the city.

The past two months in Chengdu “have been weird,” with a heat wave that has led to water shortages and power cuts due to Sichuan’s reliance on hydropower, along with the latest virus outbreak and now the earthquake, Jiang said.

China’s deadliest earthquake in recent years was a 7.9-magnitude in 2008 that killed nearly 90,000 people in Sichuan. The temblor devastated towns, schools and rural communities outside the provincial capital of Chengdu, leading to a years-long effort to rebuild with more resistant materials.

The epicenter of Monday’s quake was in a mountainous area about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of Chengdu.

Apsny News