33.263N, 96.665E Magnitude: 6.9 Mw
Depth: 46 km Universal Time (UTC):
13 Apr 2010 23:49:42 Time near the Epicenter: 14
Apr 2010 07:49:42 Local standard time in your area: 13 Apr 2010
Location with respect to nearby cities: 239 km (149
miles) NNW (347 degrees) of Qamdo, Xizang (Tibet) 380 km (236
miles) SSE (155 degrees) of Golmud, Qinghai, China 604 km (376
miles) SW (234 degrees) of Xining, Qinghai, China 919 km (571
miles) NE (44 degrees) of THIMPHU, Bhutan
--- On Wed, 4/14/10, STEPHEN J & PAULA CHIPMAN <email@example.com>
From: STEPHEN J & PAULA CHIPMAN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "lee chin" <email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 12:26 PM
BEIJING — A series of strong earthquakes struck a mountainous
Tibetan area of western China on Wednesday, killing at least 400 people and
injuring more than 10,000 as houses made of mud and wood collapsed, officials
said. Many more people were trapped, and the toll was expected to rise.
The largest quake was recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey
as magnitude 6.9. In the aftermath, panicked people, many bleeding from their
wounds, flooded the streets of a Qinghai province township where most of the
homes had been flattened. Students were reportedly buried inside several damaged
Paramilitary police used shovels to dig through the rubble in
the town, footage on state television showed. Officials said excavators were not
available. Crews worked to repair the damaged road to the nearest airport and
clear the way for equipment and rescue teams. Hospitals were overwhelmed, many
lacking even the most basic supplies, and doctors were in short supply.
By nightfall, the airport was operating with emergency power
and receiving relief flights carrying medical workers and supplies, state media
Downed phone lines, strong winds and frequent aftershocks
hindered rescue efforts, said Wu Yong, commander of the local army garrison, who
said the death toll "may rise further as lots of houses collapsed."
With many people forced outside, the provincial government
said it was rushing 5,000 tents and 100,000 coats and blankets to the
mountainous region, with an altitude of around 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) where
night time temperatures plunge below freezing.
Workers were racing to release water from a reservoir in the
disaster area where a crack had formed after the quake to prevent a flood,
according to the China Earthquake Administration.
The Wednesday quake, which struck at 7:49 a.m. local time
(2349 GMT, 7:49 p.m. EDT), was centered on Yushu county, in the southern part of
Qinghai, near Tibet, with a population of about 100,000, mostly herders and
Lightly populated by Chinese standards, the region is remote,
making the rescue operation logistically difficult. Relief flights, for example,
need to carry in spare jet fuel to augment the limited supplies stored at
Yushu's airport, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said.
The USGS recorded six temblors in less than three hours, all
but one registering 5.0 or higher. The China Earthquake Networks Center measured
the largest quake's magnitude at 7.1. Qinghai averages more than five
earthquakes a year of at least magnitude 5.0, Xinhua said. They normally do not
cause much damage.
Residents fled as the ground shook, toppling houses made of
mud and wood, as well as temples, gas stations, electric poles and the top of a
Buddhist pagoda in a park, witnesses and state media said. The quake also
triggered landslides, Xinhua said.
"Nearly all the houses made of mud and wood collapsed. There
was so much dust in the air, we couldn't see anything," said Ren Yu, general
manager of Yushu Hotel in Jiegu, the county's main town. "There was a lot of
panic. People were crying on the streets. Some of our staff, who were reunited
with their parents, were also in tears."
More than 100 guests of the hotel, which was relatively
undamaged, were evacuated to open spaces such as public squares, Ren told The
Associated Press by phone. Hotel staff also helped in rescue efforts in other
buildings, Ren said.
"We pulled out 70 people, but some of them died on the way to
the hospital," Ren said.
The death toll rose to about 400 by afternoon, according to
China Central Television. Emergency official Pubucairen was quoted as saying
that the number of injured has risen to more than 10,000. The official, who goes
by only one name, said rescuers were treating the injured at hospitals, race
tracks and sports stadiums.
President Hu Jintao sent a vice premier to supervise rescue
efforts and more than 5,000 soldiers, medical workers and other rescuers were
mobilized, joining 700 soldiers already on the ground, Xinhua said. A message of
sympathy also came from the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of the often
fervently Buddhist Tibetans who is reviled by Chinese leaders.
Yushu and its environs were among the Tibetan areas caught up
in the anti-government protests that swept the region in March 2008. Tensions
have simmered since, and the region has been closed to foreigners off and on.
CCTV reported that soon after the quake, troops secured
banks, oil depots and caches of explosives.
Yushu was for centuries home to important Buddhist
monasteries and a trading hub and gateway to central Tibet. In recent years, the
government has poured investment into Yushu, opening an airport last year and
building a highway to the provincial capital of Xining.
The quake struck along the Longmenshan fault, which runs
beneath the mountains that divide the Tibetan plateau to the west and the
Sichuan plane to the east. A magnitude-7.9 quake on the fault's eastern edge two
years ago left almost 90,000 people dead or missing in Sichuan. Poor design,
shoddy construction and the lax enforcement of building codes were found to be
In Jiegu, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the epicenter,
the local fire brigade was trying to rescue 20 students stuck inside a school,
Kang Zifu, head of the rescue team, told state television. It did not say what
type of school it was.
Five students were killed and others trapped in a primary
school, a teacher told Xinhua, saying morning classes had not yet started when
the quake struck. Another official said students were buried at several primary
More than 85 percent of houses had collapsed in Jiegu, which
Tibetans call Gyegu, while large cracks have appeared on buildings still
standing, Xinhua cited Zhuohuaxia, a local publicity official, as saying.
"The streets in Jiegu are thronged with panic and full of
injured people, with many of them bleeding from their injuries," said
Zhuohuaxia, who goes by one name.
A monk named Luo Song from a monastery in Yushu county said
his sister who worked at a local orphanage told him three children were sent to
a hospital but the facilities lacked equipment.
"There are no doctors, they have only bandages, they can't
give injections, they can't put people on intravenous drips," the monk said by
phone while on a visit to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. Rural hospitals
typically are not well equipped.
A local military official, Shi Huajie, told CCTV rescuers
were working with limited equipment.
"The difficulty we face is that we don't have any excavators.
Many of the people have been buried and our soldiers are trying to pull them out
with human labor," Shi said. "It is very difficult to save people with our bare
Associated Press writer Charles Hutzler and researchers Zhao
Liang and Yu Bing contributed to this report.
government in a statement said that five thousand tents and 100,000 thick,
cotton coats and heavy blankets were being sent to help survivors
cope with strong winds and near-freezing temperatures of around 6 °C
Officials have warned that
above magnitude 5.5 are likely to continue.
and Premier Wen Jiabao urged people to try to help those affected by the earthquake.
walk on the ruins of collapsed buildings after series of earthquakes today in Yushu County, northwest China's Qinghai Province. The largest quake was
recorded as magnitude 6.9.
What was different about China's quake?
Unlike Haiti and Chile quakes, China's took place in middle
of single plate
By Andrea Thompson
The earthquake that struck
China in the early hours of the morning was different than some of the
major temblors that have struck around the world so far this year in
that it occurred in the middle of one of Earth's tectonic plates,
instead of at the junction between them.
The 6.9-magnitude quake,
according to estimates by the United States Geological Survey (USGS),
struck at 7:49 a.m. ET near the area of Yushu in Qinghai province. This
area is part of the
Tibetan Plateau, which stands over 3 miles above sea level.
The Tibetan Plateau was created, along
with the Himalayas, about 50 million years ago as part of the Indian
subcontinent began to collide with Eurasia.
occur where the two plates that crunched together meet; instead, it occurred
within the plateau, explained Randy Baldwin, a geophysicist at the National
Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.
The deadliest earthquake on record, which occurred in Shaanxi, China, and killed
830,000 people in 1556, was an intraplate earthquake. The New Madrid seismic
zone in the central United States is the most seismically active intraplate
region in North America. Microseismic earthquakes with magnitudes no greater
than 2 occur on average every other day in this zone.
The plateau, where the recent quake
occurred, experiences continued uplift from the processes that originally
created it, and is also being squeezed by other forces, which create numerous
faults in the area. Exactly what fault ruptured in this quake isn't yet known,
but Baldwin said it is likely a shallow strike-slip type of fault, in which the
two sides of the fault slide past each other to release pent-up energy.
"It's an active area," Baldwin told
But though the type of earthquake is
different from those that struck Haiti and Chile in recent months, the signature
of these quakes looks the same to the instruments that scientists use to measure
"Earthquakes all share a common
seismic signal," Baldwin said, which consists of a two-phase signal: First,
so-called p-waves generated by the earthquake propagate around the world and are
seismometers, then come the s-waves. The timing differences are what allow
seismologists to pinpoint the locations of earthquakes.
It will take time for the area that
ruptured in the China quake to settle down, and several aftershocks have already
struck the region, ranging in magnitude from about a 4.8 to a 5.8, Baldwin said.
The number and strength of the aftershocks should decrease with time, he added
Quake region part of the ‘Roof of the World’
Mainly Tibetan area saw anti-government riots in 2008
The Chinese Prefecture of Yushu,
a series of strong earthquakes on Wednesday, has an average altitude of more
than 13,000 feet, according to the Xinhua news service, and lies on the
Tibetan-Qinghai plateau known as the "Roof of the World."
Its population is more than 250,000,
of whom 97 percent are Tibetans, Xinhua stated.
Yushu and its environs are among the
Tibetan areas that were caught up in the anti-government protests that swept the
region in March 2008.
Tensions have simmered since, and the
region has been closed to foreigners off and on. Chinese Central Television
(CCTV) reported that soon after the quake, troops secured banks, oil depots and
caches of explosives.
Yushu was for centuries home to
important Buddhist monasteries and a trading hub and gateway to central Tibet.
In recent years, the government has
poured investment into Yushu, opening an airport last year and building a
highway to the provincial capital of Xining.
Yushu's gross domestic product was
more than 2.5 billion yuan ($367.6 million) in 2009, Xinhua said. Some 21,700
people work as farmers and herders.
Yushu lies in Qinghai Province in
China's north-west on the border with the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Qinghai averages more than five
earthquakes a year of at least magnitude 5.0, according to the Xinhua. The
quakes normally do not cause much damage in the sparsely populated province.
Qinghai earthquake: survivors tell of panic, fear and grief
YUSHU, Qinghai, April 14 (Xinhua) -- Tezin Drolma felt the floor waving
when she was about to leave her home in northwest China for work on
"My first instinct told me it was an earthquake," Tezin Drolma told
Xinhua in Gyegu Town near the epicenter in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
of Yushu, southern Qinghai Province.
The quake rattled things on the table, and Tezin Drolma dashed back to
the bedroom and carried her 2-year-old son, who was sleeping, out of the
"I did not even put any clothes on him," she said.
Drolma felt two tremors. The first at around 5:40 a.m. and the stronger
second one came at around 7:40 a.m., she said.
Her family of five fled the two-storey house.
"I don't know what happened to the house as I have not returned home
yet," she said. "Most of the earth and wood structured houses toppled.
"I saw bodies on the road," she recalled.
Another resident named Lungme and five members of her family were buried
under the rubble of her home. "It was all so sudden. I had no time to
react," she said.
She and four family members were dug out by her neighbors, Lungme said,
"but my mother died."
"Eight people in one of my neighbor's family were all buried. They were
all dead when they were found," she said.
A student at the Yushu Vocational School, where at least one third of the
school buildings collapsed, said, "I know there were several students in the
teaching building. Several bodies were found in the ruins, but the
casualties are not known yet."
About 400 people have died and 10,000 were injured after the
7.1-magnitude quake hit the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu, which
lies on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at an altitude above 4,000 meters.
The quake also killed five people and injured one in neighboring Shiqu
County, in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, Sichuan Province.
China sifts rubble for quake survivors in Qinghai
Rescuers so far have little equipment to help them
China has been sifting rubble for survivors of the deadly quake which
hit the remote Qinghai region as thousands spent a freezing night in the
Rescuers used bare hands and picks to search debris as night fell,
with little heavy lifting equipment in the mountainous, mainly Tibetan
Officials say 589 people died and 10,000 were injured when the quake
struck Yushu county early on Wednesday.
But the death toll is expected to rise and further aftershocks are
There was so much dust in the air, we couldn't see
Eyewitness in Jiegu
Relief flights carrying medical workers and supplies have been
landing in Yushu airport but the road to the town of 70,000 people has
been blocked by a landslide, the Associated Press news agency reports
from Qinghai's provincial capital, Xining.
The BBC's Chris Hogg, in Qinghai and travelling by road to the
disaster area, passed long columns of military vehicles carrying diggers
and other heavy lifting equipment as dawn was breaking on Thursday.
The columns, which included ambulances, were about eight or nine
hours from the disaster zone, he said.
In the township of Jiegu, 85% of buildings were destroyed, officials
say, and state TV has been showing street after street reduced to
Several schools collapsed and at least 56 students are known to have
died, 22 of them in a school in Yushu.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has called for an all-out effort to save
as many people as possible and some 5,000 rescuers, including 700
soldiers, have been sent to the disaster area.
The civil affairs ministry said it was to send 5,000 tents, 50,000
coats and 50,000 quilts as local officials in Yushu reported a lack of
tents, medicines and medical equipment.
China has received messages of sympathy and offers of aid from
foreign states including Japan, Russia and France.
'So much dust'
About 900 people have been pulled alive from under the rubble since
the quake struck at 0749 on Wednesday (2349 GMT Tuesday), at the shallow
depth of 10km (six miles), Chinese media say.
ut Wu Yong, a local army commander, said the death toll could rise
"as lots of houses collapsed".
Rescue operations were being hampered by the fact that the magnitude
6.9 quake disrupted telecommunications, knocked out electricity and
In Xining, some 860km (530 miles) from the quake zone, soldiers,
fire-fighters and rescue workers with sniffer dogs thronged the airport,
which closed to civilian flights for several hours to make way for
Efforts are being slowed down by the lack of jet fuel stored at Yushu
airport. Relief planes are having to carry extra fuel, limiting their
space for supplies.
Feb 2010: Magnitude 8.8 quake in central Chile
kills at least 450
Jan 2010: About 230,000 die in magnitude 7.0
tremor in Haiti
April 2009: Quake measuring 6.3 in L'Aquila,
Italy, kills 300 people
May 2008: 87,000 die in 7.8 scale tremor in
Sichuan province, China
Oct 2005: Quake measuring 7.6 hits north
Pakistan, killing 73,000
As local officials struggled to find accommodation for the thousands
of people left homeless, weather forecasters were predicting wind and
sleet in the coming days, putting victims at risk of exposure.
Luo Song, a monk from a monastery in Yushu county, said his sister
who worked at an orphanage there had told him three children were sent
to a hospital but the facilities lacked equipment.
"She said the hospitals are facing a lot of difficulty right now
because there are no doctors, they have only bandages, they can't give
injections, they can't put people on intravenous drips," he told AP by
phone from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.
In Jiegu, hotel manager Ren Yu said that nearly all of the local mud
and wood houses had collapsed.
"There was so much dust in the air, we couldn't see anything," he
"There was a lot of panic. People were crying on the streets. Some of
our staff, who were reunited with their parents, were also in tears."
Harrowing photographs have emerged of emergency workers removing
dust-covered dead infants from rubble.
The high-altitude region is prone to earthquakes but, according to
the US Geological Survey, this was the strongest tremor within 100km of
the area since 1976.
In 2008, a huge quake struck neighbouring Sichuan province, about
800km from Yushu. That left 87,000 people dead or missing and five
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