Earthquake rattles Xinjiang in China's far west

A shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook the remote far-western Chinese province of Xinjiang yesterday (Dec 8).
A shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook the remote far-western Chinese province of Xinjiang yesterday (Dec 8).PHOTO: USGS

SHANGHAI • A shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake shook the remote far-western Chinese province of Xinjiang yesterday, toppling chimneys and knocking food items off store shelves in the region.

The quake was 13km deep, the US Geological Survey said, with the epicentre about 100km west of the regional capital of Urumqi, state broadcaster CCTV said.

The state-run China Earthquake Networks Centre gave the magnitude as 6.2, saying a series of aftershocks followed, with the strongest measuring 3.9. As of 2pm yesterday, 31 aftershocks had been recorded.

There were no reports of casualties or major damage, but the impact has rattled many in the region.

Ms Wang Guiqin, who lives on the second floor of a building in Hutubi, 70km away from Urumqi, told the Xinhua news agency that "the building was shaking and the lamp in my home looked like it was falling down".

"The hooks of the window curtain rang and the balcony door opened because of the shaking," she said.

A Hutubi official said there were no reports of houses collapsing in the urban area.

Hutubi, a county of about 200,000 people, according to census figures, has a largely ethnic Han population with significant numbers of members of minorities, including those from the Hui and Uighur Muslim groups.

Further west in neighbouring Manas county, the quake cracked walls and toppled chimneys, as residents fled their houses.

The Urumqi railway authorities have suspended services on some lines for safety checks.

Xinjiang, China's largest region, includes large stretches of desert and mountains, and is a major oil, gas and cotton producer.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, XINHUA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2016, with the headline 'Earthquake rattles Xinjiang in China's far west'. Print Edition | Subscribe