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Strong Seismic Events: Northern Sichuan and Gansu, China


The 2017-08-08 M 6.5 earthquake and aftershocks in Northern Xinjiang, China

(M 6.5 – 36km WSW of Yongle, China – USGS)

6.5 magnitude earthquake near Jiangyou, Sichuan, China

This earthquake occurred in China , Province of Sichuan (population 118,811,800) on 08 Aug 2017 13:19 (UTC). Location (latitude/longitude): 33°13’01.6″N 103°50’34.8″EDepth: 10 km (very shallow) .The nearest places are Tazang, Nan’pin, Baihe, Shuanghe, Yung-feng-hsiang, Ma-t’i-tzu, Nanping, Daglang, Huangshengguan, Huang-cheng-kuan, and Qoijêgoin. Area affected by light damage (estimated radius): 64 km (MMI VI). Estimated population exposure 519,187 people within 100km

This earthquake is expected to have a low humanitarian impact based on the magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.

USGS ShakeMap

Tectonic Summary

The August 8, 2017, M 6.5 earthquake in northern Sichuan, China, occurred as the result of shallow strike-slip faulting in the interior of the Eurasia plate. Focal mechanism solutions indicate the event occurred on either a southeast striking left-lateral fault or on a southwest striking right-lateral fault.

This earthquake occurred several hundred kilometers to the northeast of the convergent India:Eurasia plate boundary, where the India plate is moving northward with respect to Eurasia at a rate of approximately 46 mm/yr. This convergence drives the uplift of the Himalaya Mountains and the Tibetan Plateau, a broad region of thickened and uplifted crust, at a rate of approximately 10 mm/yr. The uplifted Tibetan Plateau is spreading to the east and, as a result, is an area of east-west extension and eastward crustal motion within a larger region of generally north-south convergence. At the edge of the plateau to the east of this earthquake, Tibetan crust is converging with the strong crust underlying the Sichuan Basin and southeastern China. The August 8th earthquake likely reflects the interplay among these major tectonic forces.

The region within 250 km of the August 8, 2017, earthquake has experienced 12 events of M6+ over the past century. Most notable in the recent past was the May 12, 2008 M 7.9 Chengdu or Sichuan earthquake, just under 250 km to the south of the August 8, 2017 event. That 2008 earthquake resulted in over 69,000 fatalities and close to 400,000 injuries, destroying over 5 million buildings and affecting over 45 million people across western China. The 2008 earthquake and its prominent aftershock sequence occurred on the Longmenshan fault zone, a prominent structure along the range front to the south and southeast of the 2017 earthquake. In August 1976, three large earthquakes of M 6.9, M 6.4 and M 6.7 struck the region around 50 km to the southeast of today’s earthquake. Perhaps due to the relative remoteness of this region, the 1976 earthquakes are not known to have caused any damage or fatalities.


See Also

The 2017-08-08 M 6.2 earthquake and aftershocks in Gansu, China

(M 6.3 – 107km SSE of Dostyq, Kazakhstan – USGS)

6.3 magnitude earthquake near Dostyq, Almaty Oblysy, Kazakhstan

The earthquake occurred in China , Autonomous Region of Xinjiang (population 16,794,560) on 08 Aug 2017 23:27:53 (UTC). Location (latitude/longitude): 44°19’22.8″N 82°50’13.2″E. Depth: 25.87 km (shallow). The nearest places are Bayan Aman, Jinghe, Ching-ho-chen, Ching-ho, Shaquanzi, Sha-ch’üan-tzu, Daheyanzi, Todog, Shang-wu-la-ssu-tai, To-to, and Pa-tu-lun. Area affected by light damage (estimated radius): 49 km (MMI VI). Estimated population exposure 436,807 people within 100km

This earthquake can have a low humanitarian impact based on the Magnitude and the affected population and their vulnerability.

USGS ShakeMap


Northern Xinjiang, China

382 km W of Urunchi, China / pop: 1,509,000 / local time: 05:27:54.8 2017-08-09
366 km E of Taldyqorghan, Kazakhstan / pop: 117,000 / local time: 05:27:54.8 2017-08-09
104 km S of Dostyq, Kazakhstan / pop: 3,000 / local time: 05:27:54.8 2017-08-09

Gansu, China

282 km N of Chengdu, China / pop: 3,951,000 / local time: 21:19:50.2 2017-08-08
173 km N of Jiangyou, China / pop: 128,000 / local time: 21:19:50.2 2017-08-08



Mww 6.3 Northern Xinjiang, China – IRIS   (Interactive Earthquake Browser)

Mww 6.5 Gansu, China – IRIS    (Interactive Earthquake Browser)

More Information

GeoForschungsZentrum (GEOFON) Potsdam, Germany
IRIS Seismic Monitor
European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) – Real Time Seismicity
Geophysical Survey. Russian Academy of Sciences Obninsk, Russia
Kazakhstan National Data Center, Institute of Geophysical Research Almaty, Kazakhstan
Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) – Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS

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