Major earthquake strikes sparsely populated western China

A major earthquake struck western China. The magnitude-7.2 quake hit at 6:33 a.m. (2233 GMT Thursday), about 225 kilometers (140 miles) southeast of the city of Hotan in southwest Xinjiang province, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

2008-03-24
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Map of the earthquake affected area in Chia. Graphic: RFA >> View a larger image

A major earthquake struck western China. The magnitude-7.2 quake hit at 6:33 a.m. (2233 GMT Thursday), about 225 kilometers (140 miles) southeast of the city of Hotan in southwest Xinjiang province, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

China's Earthquake Administration confirmed the earthquake, but said it had a magnitude of 7.3.

As of Monday, March 24th, RFA Uyghur service reported that about 100,000 people, living in 4 counties, were affected. There was no official statement on the number of victims.

There were four aftershocks in the region, ranging from magnitude 5.0 to magnitude 5.2, according to a notice on the Earthquake Administration's Web site.

The earthquakes occurred around Ahqan town and Bostan town, just north of the Kunlun mountains, with a total population of around 13,400 people, according to Chinese state media.

China's state-run television channel CCTV said some houses had collapsed, but that no one was hurt.

Xinjiang is a predominantly Muslim region with a culture that is distinctly different from that of China's ethnic Han majority.

(with Associated Press)

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