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Northern Sichuan, China Earthquake of 8 August 2017 [USGS Seismic Hazard Map]
Northern Sichuan, China Earthquake of 8 August 2017 [USGS Seismic Hazard Map]
On the evening of August 8, 2017, an earthquake shook the mountainous region of northwest Sichuan, China. A popular tourist destination in China, the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve receives 5 million visitors per year; just days before the earthquake they welcomed 41,000 people.

Two weeks after the quake, there are still conflicting reports on the size and magnitude of this earthquake. The US Geological Survey (USGS) reported the earthquake was measured at a 6.5 magnitude, west southwest from the epicenter in Yongle. Whereas Xinhua, a Chinese news agency, announced the earthquake hit a 7.0 magnitude, citing the China Earthquake Networks Center as their source.

Earthquake in Sichuam, China
2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China – wikimedia/

The earthquake injured 520 people and killed 25, including six tourists. President Xi Jinping urged for the deployment of relief service organizations to rescue stranded and injured individuals in the southwest region.

The Red Cross Society of China mobilized emergency specialists and volunteers to provide relief services to assess other damages in the region. “The quake hit at night, communications lines and electricity are disrupted and people are no doubt shocked and scared”, reported Gwendolyn Pang, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross Country Cluster Support Team in Beijing.

The earthquake suspended train services to Chengdu and damaged 259 cellphone towers in surrounding counties.

According to the USGS tectonic summary, the earthquake occurred because of a “shallow strike-slip faulting” within the interior of the Eurasian plate. The epicenter of this earthquake was pinpointed several miles away from where the Indian and Eurasian plate converge to form the Himalayan Mountains.

This is not the first time Sichuan, China felt an earthquake of this magnitude. In 2008, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake devastated the region, killing approximately 87,000 people and displacing 4,800,000 people from their homes. BBC listed the event as the seventh deadliest earthquake between 1900 and 2013.


Suggested Reading:

Rescuers find bodies after China quake kills 19, injures 247 – The Washington Post

Jiuzhaigou’s tourism industry ponders its future after quake – South China Morning Post

Locals worry that tourism industry will become another casualty of Jiuzhaigou earthquake – Shanghaiist

Strong Quake Strikes Southwest China, 13 Dead, 175 Injured – Bloomberg

Widespread damage after earthquake – The Star Online

M 6.5 – 36kn WSW of Yongle, China – USGS

Xi urges all-out relief work after 7.0 magnitude quake hits SW China – Xinhua

China earthquake: Sichuan tremor leaves least 19 dead – BBC

Media advisory – Sichuan Earthquake: Red Cross Society of China responds – IFRC

The Himalayas: Two continents collide – USGS

Deaths reported as quake hits China’s Sichuan province – Aljazeera

Sichuan 2008: A disaster on an immense scale – BBC