China Earthquake: A 6.9-Magnitude Shakes the Hotan Province


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On Wednesday, a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck one of China’s most abundant northwestern regions of natural resources.

The Xinjiang region endured several tremors within a two-hour timespan. Twenty of them were recorded as a series of aftershocks.

The earthquake mainly occurred in southeast Hotan, a county-level city known for its terrestrial mountains.

A report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the magnitude of the quake occurred 12.5 kilometers deep, south of Hotan.

According to the survey’s tectonic summary:

The February 12, 2014 M 6.9 earthquake south of Hotan, China, occurred as a result of shallow strike-slip faulting in the tectonically complex region of the northern Tibetan Plateau. Preliminary mechanisms for the event indicate slip occurred on a steeply dipping fault, either a left-lateral structure oriented northeast-southwest, or a right-lateral structure oriented northwest-southeast…

The February 12, 2014 earthquake most likely resulted from movement along the Altyn Tagh fault system or an adjacent structure.

Witnesses say that the earthquake lasted but a minute.

There are reportedly no deaths or injuries, but officials are more than certain that homes and buildings in the area have suffered damage from the earthquake.

It comes to no surprise that an earthquake has yet again hit China. Its mountainous regions are usually main targets of strike-slip fault systems.

The tectonic summary also reported:

The northern portion of the Tibetan Plateau itself is largely dominated by the motion on three large left-lateral, strike-slip fault systems; the Altyn Tagh, Kunlun and Haiyuan.

Since last year, two earthquakes have occurred in other areas of the country.

Last July, Gansu, a neighboring province of Xinjiang, succumbed to 95 local fatalities due to two earthquakes of the same magnitude.

However, quakes in the town of Hotan appear to be common.

“A previous 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck the same county in March 2008, affecting 40,000 people, destroying 200 homes and causing an overall 10 million yuan (US$1.7 million) in damage,” Channel NewsAsia said in a report.

The USGS says that the 2008 earthquake happened “approximately 120 km further west-southwest” of Wednesday’s event.

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