A strong earthquake has hit a sparsely populated area in western China, prompting residents to rush out of their homes, but there are no immediate reports of injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude-5.6 quake hit late Tuesday evening about 25 kilometers (16 miles) from Kangding city in Sichuan province. It said it was centered at a depth of 11.6 kilometers (7.2 miles).

The USGS said the quake's impact should be relatively localized and there was a low likelihood of casualties.

Western China is regularly hit by earthquakes. Sichuan was struck by a magnitude-7.9 quake in May 2008 that left nearly 90,000 people dead, many of them in collapsed schools and other poorly constructed buildings.