Big quake, aftershocks hit Xinjiang

Updated: 2008-03-21 09:13

BEIJING - A major earthquake and aftershocks hit China's northwestern region of Xinjiang on Friday morning, the China Earthquake Administration said, but there were no initial reports of casualties or damages.

China Earthquake Administration said the initial quake, of 7.3 magnitude, happened at 6:33 am local time. The epicenter was located at 35.6 degrees north latitude and 81.6 degrees east longitude. 

The strongest jolt, also the earliest one, occurred at 6:33 am Friday (Beijing Time). 

The US Geological Survey measured the quake at 7.2 magnitude, at a depth of 22.9 km.

Three aftershocks measuring between 5.2 to 5 on the Richter scale soon followed between 7:00 a m and 8:00 am.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damages.

The epicenter area, about 130 kilometers from the Yutian county seat and 240 kilometers from the Hotian county seat, is a sparsely populated, mountain region.

Yutian county officials said the county has set up a group to deal with the emergency and has sent people to the epicenter areas, the China News Service reported.

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, vast in areas, is a relatively sparsely populated region in northwest China.

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