(TibetanReview.net, Nov 12) — An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale hit the sparsely populated, mineral-rich Da Qaidam district in Haixi Prefecture of Qinghai Province at 9:22 am on Nov 10, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Nov 10. No casualties were reported, although several ramshackle huts were toppled, with some mud houses also developing cracks on their walls, the report said.
The epicentre was reported to be at 37.6 degrees north latitude and 95.9 degrees east longitude, about 716 kilometres west of the provincial capital Xining. The report said an aftershock measuring 3.9 hit the same area exactly an hour later.
The AFP Nov 10 reported that the quake, whose magnitude it put at 6.5, shook buildings hundreds of kilometres away, sending people running into the streets. It cited the US Geological Survey as saying a 5.0-magnitude aftershock rattled the region 1-1/2 hours later.
Da Qaidam is about 150 km northeast of the industrial and mining city of Golmud, the starting point of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. “Some residents said it was the biggest tremor they had felt” since a quake measured at 7.8 jolted the area in Nov 2001, the AFP report cited Golmud official Luo Zhenggang as saying. It also cited officials as saying the Qinghai-Tibet railway was largely unaffected by the earthquake.
Apart from Golmud and Xining, the tremor from the quake was felt more than 245 km away in the city of Delinha (Tibetan: Terlenkha), AFP cited residents there as saying.
The Xinhua report said Da Qaidam was sparsely populated with about 16,000 people, including Mongolians, Tibetans and Chinese. The report said the area was rich in mineral resources, with one of the largest lead-zinc mines in western PRC and several coal mines. The epicentre was reported to be close to two coal mines, which, however, reportedly did not incur serious damages.