USGS: 6.5-Magnitude Quake Strikes Northwest China

A strong magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck in the remote Qinghai province of northwestern China on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The quake's epicenter was 1,120 miles west of Beijing, the USGS said. It struck at a depth of 6.2 miles at 9:22 a.m. local time, the agency said.

China's Earthquake Administration confirmed the earthquake, but said it had a magnitude of 6.3.

The USGS said the quake's epicenter was 35 miles east of Da Qaidam district, in northern Qinghai. The population of the county seat, Da Qaidam town, is about 15,000 people.

An official at the Da Qaidam administrative committee said authorities have sent 180 people to investigate the situation and that there were no reports of casualties yet.

The quake was felt in Golmud, the second-largest city in the province with a population of 270,000, 100 miles south of the epicenter.

Hotels in the city said they could feel the tremors but that the quake was not major enough to cause significant damage.

"We felt the ground shaking for a minute earlier today and then it stopped. No one in our hotel was hurt and there was no damage," said a receptionist at Zhongshan Hotel in Golmud who refused to be named.

Phone calls to government offices in Golmud rang unanswered Monday.

China's far west is fairly earthquake-prone. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake on May 12 devastated parts of Sichuan province, just east of Tibet, killing 70,000 people and leaving 5 million homeless.