7.2 magnitude earthquake hits Tajikistan with strong shaking felt in China

A powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Tajikistan on Thursday morning, with tremors strongly shaking parts of neighbouring China.

The quake hit around 8.37am Beijing local time at a depth of 6 miles, Chinese state media CCTV reported, citing the China Earthquake Networks Center.

The epicentre was located nearly 82km from the nearest border with China and was felt across the Xinjiang region, including Kashgar and Artux.

The epicentre appeared to be in Gorno-Badakhshan, a semi-autonomous and sparsely populated eastern region dominated by the towering Pamir Mountains.

So far there have been no reports of injuries or casualties.

The region was hit by two aftershocks of magnitude 5 and 4.6 about 20 minutes after the initial jolt.

The USGS estimated that “little or no population” would be exposed to landslides from the quake.

Power supply and communication remained normal in Kashgar, while the Xinjiang railroad department called a halt to passenger trains running on the Aksu to Kashgar section, China state news agency Xinhua reported.

Local authorities in China said they were inspecting bridges, tunnels and signal equipment.

Tajikistan, a landlocked central Asian country, is highly prone to natural disasters and has a history of earthquakes and avalanches. At least nine people died in February in an avalanche in the Gorno-Badakhshan region, while a person was killed in a separate avalanche near the capital Dushanbe.