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6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Yushu Tibetan Prefecture

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake rattled Tibet early Monday, followed by at least two strong aftershocks.

No casualties have been reported. One Tibetan nomad from a neighboring region tells VOA Tibetan Service no major damage has been reported, although cracks had appeared on numerous buildings.

U.S. Geological Survey observations indicate the epicenter is in sparsely populated Atod Xiang, about 249 kilometers west of Yushu City, also known as Kyergudo, where in 2010 a 7.1 magnitude quake killed at least 2,698 people.

China's Xinhua state news agency says local authorities are investigating the extent of damage, and school has been suspended for the day.

The shallowness of the quake and its close proximity to the Zatoe County seat would typically indicate more destruction, said USGS seismologist Zachary Reeves.

“Damages depend on infrastructure of the region as well as the size of the earthquake, but 29 kilometers is pretty close for earthquakes of this size,” he told VOA, adding that the 4.6- and 4.2-magnitude aftershocks respectively occurred 20 and 70 minutes after the main quake.

The overall population of Atod, which is located West of Yushu Prefecture and borders Drachen County of Nagchu Prefecture in Tibetan Autonomous Region, is more than 58,000.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Tibetan Service.