Very strong and dangerous shallow earthquake in Tibet, China – 87 injured people and a lot of damage (both residential and infrastructure)

Last update: August 14, 2013 at 7:15 am by By

Update August 14, 07:15 UTC : In addition to the more than 200 collapsed houses, approx. 45000 rooms were damaged in various extent. Also the infrastructure suffered severe damage. Hundreds of kilometers of roads were damaged or blocked my more than 100 landslides, whick were triggered by the quake. Water supply was also affected.

Update August 13, 12:13 UTC : 87 people have been treated for various injuries but luckily nobody was killed. More than 200 houses are reported as collapsed.
The China Ministry of Civil Affairs has shipped 3,000 tents, 20,000 quilts, 20,000 cotton coats, 3,000 beds and 3,000 sleeping bags to the Tibetan area that has suffered most from the M6.1 earthquake.
The Qamdo earthquake (as it is called in China) affected 570,000 people in 114 townships in 11 counties. 2 counties (Zogang and Markam or Mangkang) were most severe hit. Next to damaged houses, also roads, bridges, water conservancy and other infrastructure was also damaged in various degrees. SAR (Search and rescue troops) have visited all the hit towns and relief goods are being distributed.

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Update 17:08 UTC : – Chinese reports are mentioning that 21 houses have collapsed during this earthquake and the aftershocks. 350 military and militia, also specialized in SAR have gone to the epicenter area. They are carrying relief goods like tents and food. It took them about 12 hours to reach the remote high mountain areas. Luckily it is summer up there as in the winter it would have been a much more difficult task. No images so far from the damage in this area. At least 21 houses have collapsed, much more have been damaged.

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 19.13.20

Update 08:24 UTC : The strong aftershocks in Tibet are continuing to strike the greater epicenter area. Another M5.0 (Geofon) aftershock did occur. Earthquake data from International agencies are often contradicting the Chinese data. As the Chinese are very specialized in earthquakes we are not doubting their own data as they have many instruments installed all over the country. The Chinese are reporting a M4.5 at a depth of 7 km.

Update 07:51 UTC : Te graphic below shows the mainshock and the many aftershocks (some at damaging level) in Tibet. More news will follow when it becomes available.

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 09.48.33

Update August 12th, 04:44 UTC : There are are no official reports of damage so far. Reason: Rescue teams were not able to reach some villages in surrounding valleys, because the quake damaged roads. Local residents from different villages already reported that some houses have collapsed, others were damaged.

Update 22:06 UTC : After examining the satellite pictures in regard to the epicenter we are happy to report that the direct epicenter area (has always a great error margin) is merely unpopulated. The landscape consists of rugged mountains on a high plateau. Minor damage may have been inflicted in small villages and towns in the greater epicenter area. The Chinese authorities have certainly started their earthquake management force. First step is forming an assessment team to check the epicenter area. They will communicate to the headquarters who will then send all possible goods and rescue material. We do not expect detailed information until the UTC morning hours as the area is too remote.

Update 21:56 UTC : An M4.3 aftershock ate a depth of 6 km ! has hit the same area.

Important update 21:51 UTC : The Chinese authorities have just changed the preliminary values from M6 to M6.1 and the depth from 51 km to 10 km. The latter makes this earthquake extremely dangerous.

Update 21:48 UTC : USGS expects a maximum moderate shaking (MMI V) in a small radius near the epicenter and a light shaking in a greater radius. Taking into account that it is in the middle of the Tibetan night, people will certainly have been alerted and have now left their houses.

The earthquake occurred in the same area than M4+ earthquakes earlier today. This one is however much stronger. The closest city is Markam.

The Chinese seismological authorities are reporting a M6 but at the intermediate depth of 51 km. Based on the Chinese data, we can expect some damage but not a lot of destruction. Minor injuries are also a possibility.  These are preliminary values and if the depth would go down to less than 20 km this earthquake can become really dangerous.

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 23.44.22

860 km E of Thimphu, Bhutan / pop: 98,676 / local time: 03:23:45.0 2013-08-12
528 km N of Myitkyinā, Myanmar / pop: 90,894 / local time: 03:53:45.0 2013-08-12
132 km SE of Qamdo, China / pop: 86,280 / local time: 05:23:45.0 2013-08-12

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 5.8

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2013-08-12 05:23:43

GMT/UTC Time : 2013-08-11 21:23:43

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 10 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

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SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
USGS Wangda, China Aug 11 23:58 5.2 59 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Eastern Xizang Aug 11 23:58 5.1 12 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Xizang Aug 11 23:58 5.0 12 MAP I Felt It
USGS Wangda, China Aug 11 23:48 5.0 59 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Eastern Xizang Aug 11 23:48 5.1 33 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Xizang Aug 11 23:48 5.0 12 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Wangda, China Aug 11 22:30 4.4 35 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Eastern Xizang Aug 11 22:30 4.4 60 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Xizang Aug 11 22:30 4.6 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
CEIC Markam, Tibet, China Aug 11 21:23 6.1 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Wangda, China Aug 11 21:23 5.7 50 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Eastern Xizang Aug 11 21:23 5.7 30 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Xizang Aug 11 21:23 5.8 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Wangda, China Aug 11 21:23 4.6 59 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Eastern Xizang Aug 11 21:23 4.7 30 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Xizang Aug 11 21:23 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Eastern Xizang Aug 11 14:21 4.6 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Wangda, China Aug 11 14:21 4.5 24 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Xizang Aug 11 14:21 4.6 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Wangda, China Aug 11 13:11 4.2 59 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Eastern Xizang Aug 11 13:11 4.2 59 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Wangda, China Aug 11 12:40 4.8 63 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Eastern Xizang Aug 11 12:40 4.9 24 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Xizang Aug 11 12:40 4.5 10 MAP I Felt It INFO


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Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
People :
Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
Fittings :
Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
Structures :
Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
People :
Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
Fittings :
Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
Structures :
Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
Fittings :
Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
Structures :
Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
Environment :
Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
People
General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
Fittings :
Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
Structures :
Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
Environment :
Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
Write your experience below + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage) or if you have knowledge of any damage caused by this earthquake. (max. 500 characters)

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