A strong earthquake has struck a lightly populated, mountainous area of western China, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the preliminary magnitude of Saturday's quake was 5.8, with a depth of 9.8 kilometers (6.1 miles), capable of causing major damage under certain conditions. It struck near the town of Kangding in Sichuan province at 4:55 p.m. local time (0855 GMT).

China's seismological agency gave the initial magnitude as 6.3.

A duty officer at the Kangding county government, who gave his surname as Xia, said the quake lasted only a few seconds and there had been no aftershocks or reports of injuries or damage.