Western China rocked by 7.2 magnitude earthquake

March 21st, 2008 - 10:09 am ICT by amritpal  

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake (depth 22.9 km) shook western China’s Xinjiang province early Friday. The quake at 6:33 a.m. (2233 GMT Thursday) was located near yutian country  - some 230 km southeast of the city of Hotan in Xinjiang province.

China said the initial quake was followed by a magnitude 5.1 aftershock at 2238 GMT (0938 AEDT) and one of magnitude 5.2 about 30 minutes later, both roughly in the same location.

There were no reports of anyone hurt so far, he said, and the area is sparsely populated.Xinjiang is a predominantly Muslim region with a culture that is distinctly different from that of China’s ethnic Han majority.

Earthquakes for China is not a new phenomenon. China is located in one of the most active seismic regions of the world and has been plagued by numerous earthquakes during its long history. The most significant of these earthquakes, in terms of lives lost, was that which occurred in 1556. The 1556 Shaanxi earthquake or Hua County earthquake killed approximately 830,000 people. It occurred on the morning of 23 January 1556 AD in Shaanxi, China. More than 97 counties in the provinces of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Gansu, Hebei, Shandong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Anhui were affected. A 520 mile-wide area was destroyed and in some counties, 60% of the population was killed. Most of the population in the area at the time lived in yaodong, artificial caves in loess cliffs, many of which collapsed during the catastrophic occurrence, with great loss of life.

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