Shallow 5.9 magnitude earthquake hits SW China

Chinese state media confirms tremor hit Yingjiang county

BEIJING – A shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 hit southwest China on Friday morning, the US Geological Survey said, with Chinese reports saying 29 people had been injured, five of them seriously.

The epicentre was in China's Yunnan province, 65 kilometres southeast of Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state in northern Myanmar, USGS said, estimating the quake's depth at 10 kilometres. Shallow earthquakes can often cause greater damage than more powerful deep ones.

Chinese state media said the tremor hit Yingjiang county. “Tremors were strongly felt in the county seat, where local residents rushed to open areas," the official Xinhua news agency said. "Police have been sent to the township of Kachang, which is close to the epicentre," it added, citing local publicity officials.

Xinhua put the magnitude at 6.1, citing China's earthquake authorities. Many people posting on Sina Weibo -- China's version of Twitter -- said the shaking lasted between six and eight seconds. A picture posted online showed people in the centre of Mang, in Yingjiang county, standing in the street, with the poster saying they had run out of an eight-storey building because of the tremors.

USGS graded it as a seven on its "Shakemap" scale, saying that shaking would have been very strong and expecting moderate damage. More than 50 relief workers have been sent to the region for surveying, investigation and disaster evaluation, Xinhua said. Southwest China lies where the Eurasian and Indian plates meet and is prone to earthquakes.

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