Tuesday, November 30, 2010

5.5-magnitude quake hits Tibet

Posted: 30 November 2010 1812 hrs

BEIJING : An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5 struck China's remote Tibetan region on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The quake struck in central Tibet at 16:39 pm (0839 GMT) at a depth of 17 kilometres (10 miles) and was centred 81 kilometres west of the regional capital Lhasa, the USGS said.

The Bureau of Civil Affairs - which handles natural disaster response - in Dangxiong county near the quake's epicentre said there were no reports of damage or casualties from the eight towns in the county.

The quake was felt only lightly in Lhasa, said a woman who answered the phone at the Tibet seismology bureau in the capital.

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck the predominantly Tibetan region of Yushu in neighbouring Qinghai province to the north on April 14, flattening thousands of homes and leaving nearly 2,700 people dead and some 270 missing.

- AFP/ms

6.6 magnitude quake near Japanese islands

Posted: 30 November 2010 1222 hrs

TOKYO: A strong 6.6 magnitude quake struck off Japan's southern Bonin Islands on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said, with tremors felt more than 800 kilometres away in Tokyo, but no tsunami was expected.

The quake hit at 12.24 pm local time (0324 GMT), 337 kilometres (210 miles) west northwest of Chichi-shima in Japan's remote Bonin island region at a depth of 478 kilometres. There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

The USGS originally said the quake was magnitude 6.9, but later revised its figure.

Japan's meteorological agency also said the focus was off the west coast of the same chain of islands in the Pacific, known in Japan as the Ogasawara islands, 808 kilometres south of Tokyo.

Even so, the quake swayed buildings in the capital.

Around 20 percent of the world's most powerful earthquakes strike Japan, which sits on the "Ring of Fire" surrounding the Pacific Ocean.

But high building standards, regular drills and a sophisticated tsunami warning system mean that casualties are often minimal.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

6.1-magnitude quake strikes off Taiwan

Posted: 21 November 2010 2051 hrs

TAIPEI - A 6.1 magnitude undersea earthquake struck off eastern Taiwan Sunday, the island's Seismology Centre said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The quake hit at 1231 GMT about 22 kilometres (14 miles) southeast of the eastern city of Hualien and had a depth of 41 kilometres, the Centre said. No tsunami warning was issued.

The US Geological Survey put the quake's magnitude at 5.7. It said the epicentre was 50 kilometres (31 miles) deep.

Buildings in the capital Taipei swayed and the quake could be felt across the island but the National Fire Agency said there were no casualties or any damage.

"Since the quake originated at a spot rather deep below the surface of the sea, and it did not last long, the risk of it causing severe damages was low," Kuo Kai-wen, the director of the Centre, told AFP.

Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

In September 1999, a 7.6-magnitude tremor killed around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island's recent history.

- AFP /ls

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

6.0-magnitude earthquake rocks eastern Indonesia

Posted: 03 November 2010 1937 hrs

JAKARTA : A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Indonesia on Wednesday, but there were no reports of damage, an official said.

The epicentre was 106 kilometres (66 miles) southeast of Kaimana in West Papua province, beneath the sea at a depth of 50 kilometres, a government seismologist said.

"So far, we haven't received any reports about damage," he said.

The US Geological Survey said it had recorded a 6.1-magnitude quake at a depth of 29 kilometres in the same area.

The region is sparsely populated and off limits to foreign aid groups and journalists due to Jakarta's sensitivity over a separatist movement among Papua's indigenous Melanesians.

Indonesia is reeling from the dual disasters of a tsunami which killed more than 400 people in the western Mentawai islands last week and an erupting volcano which has killed 36 people in central Java.

The archipelago of 240 million people stretches from the Pacific to the Indian oceans and is studded with active volcanoes and fringed by shifting continental plates. - AFP/ms

Earthquake hits Serbia, two killed

Posted: 03 November 2010 1050 hrs

KRALJEVO, Serbia : An earthquake struck Serbia early Wednesday, killing two people, wounding dozens and inflicting substantial damage on the city of Kraljevo where electricity and other services were cut.

The 5.6-magnitude quake hit at 1:56 am (0056 GMT) with its epicentre 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Kraljevo in the centre of the country south of the capital Belgrade, the Serbian seismological institute said.

"A couple in their 50s was killed at Grdica, a suburb of Kraljevo, in the earthquake during the night," the interior ministry said in a statement.

Following the tremor, the authorities in Kraljevo declared an emergency situation as the town and some surrounding villages were badly damaged. This will allow the municipal authorities to get help nationally as local services cannot handle the demand.

Rescue teams have been deployed but had not found anyone trapped under the rubble, police said.

B92 television reported that emergency services in Kraljevo had treated dozens of injured.

In the village of Vitanovac, the epicenter of the quake, some 70 per cent of houses were severely damaged, many with their roofs collapsed. Some inhabitants were putting back tiles that fell off during the quake.

Zivan Milivojevic, a 70-year old pensioner, was trying to estimate the damage to his house.

"My entire home is destroyed. Forty years of work gone. The house is no longer habitable," Milivojevic told AFP, showing a wall clock that fell and stopped at 1:59.

Following the quake, Kraljevo was plunged into darkness as power was cut while phone lines and water supply were also severed, local media reported.

According to Kraljevo mayor Ljubisa Simovic, some 25 per cent of the town was still out of electricity and some parts of the city had no heating.

The some school buildings suffered substantial damage, as well as the city hall. The hospital was also damaged, notably its operating theatres.

Many shop windows were broken, while some cars were destroyed after concrete blocks fell over.

The quake was felt across the country, including the capital Belgrade about 150 kilometres north of Kraljevo.

The US Geological Survey measured it with a magnitude of 5.3 at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres.

It was followed by four other less powerful aftershocks, the Serbian institute said. - AFP/wk/ms