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Strong quake shakes west China; casualties unclear

BEIJING (AP) - A powerful earthquake struck a sparsely populated area of China's far western region of Xinjiang on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear if it caused any casualties or significant damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-6.9 quake was centered 268 kilometers (167 miles) east-southeast of Hotan at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). The China Earthquake Networks Center measured the quake at magnitude 7.3 and said it was followed by at least seven smaller quakes within the following half hour.

The epicenter was in Yutian county, a mountainous area several thousand meters above sea level on the edge of the Taklamakan desert. A magnitude-7.2 quake in that area in March 2008 collapsed some houses but caused no injuries.

China Earthquake Networks Center researcher Sun Shihong said any casualties from Wednesday's quake would likely be low.

The director of the Yutian Civil Affairs Bureau, Zhang Chong, said officials were still gathering information. A police officer in Yutian said he had felt tremors shaking the police station and ran outside.

Wang Gang, a fire brigade chief in Yutian County, told the national CCTV broadcaster he was heading from the county seat to the earthquake zone, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away, with a team of police and firefighters.

China's worst earthquake in recent years was a magnitude-7.9 temblor that struck the southwestern province of Sichuan in 2008, leaving about 90,000 people dead or missing.

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donnagiovane1 February 12 2014 at 8:28 AM

Hope everyone pitches in and is able to rebuild. And I pray there are no casualties.

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DCD February 12 2014 at 10:41 AM

I can't believe the number of imbeciles who respond to this!

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MATHEOS February 12 2014 at 10:59 AM

save the children who cares about the drugs dealers!!!!!!!

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borisiak February 12 2014 at 12:06 PM

I think we embolden the Chinese territorial expansion by including Taiwan in the map of China. It was formerly part of China, but a new country now. A country that we feel obliged to protect on top of that.

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fred February 12 2014 at 7:57 AM

Climate fracking or global fracking or whatever the chicken littles call it. Never had earthquakes 'til Gore flew his private jet.

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drangonsleep fred February 12 2014 at 11:13 AM

Actually it is the earth doing its thing. The earth has an active and dynamic process of plate tectonics and volcanism. In the history of man this process has been fairly calm but as my Geology professor said, "We should not be surprised to see great upheavals or events within our lifetime, we are well over due."

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Betty February 12 2014 at 3:55 PM

earthquakes, 80 foot waves, polar vortex's, glaciers melting. what is happening here? Have we gone so far as to destroy our planet? Is this Mother Natures way of saying enough is enough? Food for thought. Hope it's not too late.

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dahaub February 12 2014 at 11:47 AM

With a quake that large there could be many aftershocks that would impede rescue of those who are trapped. Lets hope they can get to these folks in time to save them.

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barryaclarke February 12 2014 at 11:30 AM

Hmmm, in California a 6.9 would be considered a strong tremor…………

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onlyway2goisup February 12 2014 at 8:06 AM

The plates were affected all the way in Massachusetts.........shakened in Darmouth !

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Larry 55 February 12 2014 at 8:39 PM

Hah! Wait til a Mega Quakie hits the Three, That's 3 Gorges Area, When That Dam, (The Largest in the World) Cracks, the Water in the Largest Lake Behind a Dam, in the World, Will Break Through 'n Start Mega Schloshing Around, 'n Cause the Globe to Rock 'n Roll Like a Drunken Creature. That Part is in The Holy Bible. All this Wild Weather is in there too. We are the witnesses to the End Times. God Bless Ya's

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