June 29, 2012 / 9:23 PM / 6 years ago

Strong quake hits remote western China: USGS

A graphic locates the site of an earthquake in western China. A magnitude 6.3 quake struck a remote region of western China, close to the Kazakhstan border, early on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. REUTERS/Graphics

BEIJING (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.3 quake struck a remote region of western China, close to the Kazakhstan border, early on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 6.5, struck at 5:07 a.m. on Saturday (2107 GMT on Friday), and was centered 94 miles southwest of the town of Shihezi in Xinjiang region.

The official Xinhua news agency said there was strong shaking felt in regional capital Urumqi which lasted for about 10 seconds, causing some people to rush out of their houses and into the street.

In the county nearest the epicenter the quake threw people from their beds and cut the power, but it would take time to asses casualties and damage due to the remote location, Xinhua added.

“It’s a very quiet, remote, mountainous area that is sparsely populated. A the moment we have no report of any casualty or damage but we are watching closely,” USGS Geophysicist Chen Shengzao told Reuters by telephone from Golden, Colorado.

The USGS said the quake was very shallow, only 6.1 miles below the Earth’s surface. Chen said that because of its magnitude and very shallow depth, the quake would have been widely felt.

A 6.3 quake is capable of causing severe damage.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additionalk reporting by Sandra Maler in Washington

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