Earthquake of magnitude 6.6 hits northwest China's Xinjiang

SHANGHAI: An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6 struck a remote and sparsely populated part of China's far northwestern region of Xinjiang on Wednesday morning, the Chinese earthquake administration said.

No casualties were reported by authorities. The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 6.3.

The tremor followed a powerful quake late on Tuesday in Sichuan province, more than 2,000 km (1,240 miles) to the southeast, that killed nine people and injured 164.

The Xinjiang quake struck at a depth of 11 km (7 miles) in the Bortala Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture, the China Earthquake Administration said.

The earthquake administration's office in the Xinjiang capital, Urumqi, said on its official Twitter-like Weibo social media account that there were no villages located within a 5 km (3 miles) radius of the quake, nor townships within 20 km (12 miles).

Jinghe County, where the epicentre was located, has a population of about 140,000, state news agency Xinhua reported. It is about 100 km (60 miles) from the border with Kazakhstan.

Residents several hundred kilometres away in Urumqi, and the cities of Karamay and Yining, felt strong tremors, Xinhua said. The jolt lasted about 20 seconds, it said.

Xinjiang is China's largest and most remote region, but it carries strategic weight as a gateway to Central Asia and the West and as a key domestic source of oil, natural gas and coal.