BEIJING — A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 struck northwest
China on Friday, the US Geological Survey said, sending local officials scrambling to assess possible damage in the remote mining region.
The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 9:52 am (0152 GMT), was located 165 kilometres (100 miles) northeast of the city of Golmud in Qinghai province, the USGS said. The quake hit at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres.
“The township government leaders have all rushed up to the mining production district to assess the damage,” Yu Xiaoying, an official in Xitieshan township, near the epicentre, told AFP by phone.
“Right now we have no details on damage — we have not received any reports of casualties.”
The township, situated on the north end of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, has a population of about 3,000 permanent residents, but up to 8,000 migrant workers are employed in the local mining industry, Yu said.
“We are very concerned that the mining production area, the roads and pipelines could have suffered damage,” she said.
In neighbouring Dachaidan township — home to another 15,000 people — officials were assessing possible damage, especially at mining installations in the mountainous region, a local official there said.
“The earthquake shook strongly … all of our staff have gone out to check if there was any damage,” an official named Gerili told AFP.
“We have not received any reports of casualties so far… we don’t know if any houses have collapsed.”
The China Earthquake Administration registered the initial quake at 6.4.
A 5.6-magnitude aftershock hit the remote area about 20 minutes after the initial quake, the USGS said. Locals said they felt both tremors.
In November last year, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the same area in the Xitie mountains, a region rich with lead, tin, copper and other mineral deposits.
Locals in both Dachaidan and Xitieshan townships said Friday’s quake seemed stronger than last year’s tremor.
China’s Qinghai province and neighbouring Tibet are prone to earthquakes.
In May last year, nearly 87,000 people were left dead or missing when an 8.0-magnitude earthquake shook southwest Sichuan province, which borders both Qinghai and Tibet.