Strong quake jolts western China

AFP News12 August 2012
A scientist points to the seismograph of a major earthquake
A scientist points to the seismograph of a major earthquake. A shallow 6.3-magnitude earthquake has rattled western China, on the border between Xinjiang and Tibet, the US Geological Survey says

A shallow 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook a remote area of China's western region of Xinjiang, near the border with Tibet, on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said.

It was not immediately clear if there was any damage or casualties and rescue teams had been rushed to the mountainous quake zone to assess the situation, a local official told AFP.

The quake's epicentre, at a depth of nine kilometres (5.6 miles), was about 280 kilometres east of Hotan town, USGS said. It struck at 6:45 pm (1045 GMT).

The China Earthquake Networks Centre measured it at 6.2-magnitude and put it at a deeper 30 kilometres, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

"A rescue team and other officials are now on the way to the earthquake zone, which is in a mountainous area," an official with the emergency office of Yutian county -- also known as Keriya -- told AFP.

"As of now, we haven't received any news."

The county is on the southern edge of China's vast Taklimakan desert.

On Saturday, a quake measuring 5.3 hit Xinjiang, about 188 km from the town of Shache, according to the USGS.

Xinjiang is a vast region with a population of around 20 million, of whom some nine million are Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking, mainly Muslim ethnic minority.