Deadly earthquake near Yongping, Yunnan, China (Jinggu) - at least 1 killed, 324 injured, $300 million USD

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Update October 9, 10:27 UTC
There is still confusion about the number of fatalities. Our earlier 2 people were reported in a number of Chinese newspapers although the clear majority of them are reporting only 1 person killed. We are glad to believe that the 1 person killed is right. After all, we think it is a lucky escape to have only one fatality with a record of 6507 collapsed houses!


Update October 9, 10:27 UTC
Seven reservoirs were damaged and over 110,000 people were affected in Jinggu County.
As of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 61,524 houses in the rural area of Jinggu County, Pu'er City had been damaged, and 6,507 had collapsed.
The damage area covered about 105,000 square meters in the town, according to the local disaster relief headquarters.
A total of 92,700 people have been relocated in the county, according to the headquarters.
Seven reservoirs in the county's Yongping Town have sustained varying levels of damage, including cracks.
Water plants were also affected, with many pipes cracked or collapsed, affecting 205 supply stations.
In nearby Lincang City, 16,156 people had been relocated as of 2 p.m. Wednesday. A total of 17,622 houses were damaged, with 480 collapsed.

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 12.25.16


Update 12:04 UTC : So far, 28 million CNY in aid has been given to the earthquake zone

Update 11:51 UTC : Damage statistics in Lincang City:
- 2 injured
- 480 collapsed rooms
- 987 severely damaged rooms
- 15168 slightly damaged rooms
- 129.3 million CNY damage (ca. $21 million USD)
- 16156 people evacuated
- 119392 affected people.

Update 11:49 UTC : Below the first pictures we could find from the big crack in the reservoir. Contrary to what we reported earlier, the crack is a surface crack and water is not pouring out). The Chinese authorities are however in high alert about this crack. The reservoir contains 3,19 million cubic meters of water and if it should break may cause immediate danger to 1300 people living  in the valley

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 13.50.20

Summary 08:09 UTC : The Germanium industry there has been unaffected (mining). In addition, the reservoir continues to cause problems with large cracks indicating that it could break.

Summary 07:54 UTC : Aftershocks continue to pepper the area, with the largest being M4.7. There have been 7 between M4 and M4.9, and 16 between M3 and M3.9. This must be scary for the people there.

Summary 07:44 UTC : More definitive loss estimates coming out
- 2 dead, 8 severely injured, 316 slightly injured
- 2169 houses (6507 rooms) collapsed; 20508 houses (61524 rooms) severely damaged
- 56,800 people have been evacuated
- Over 1.7 billion yuan in damage has occurred in Jinggu County (totalling just under $300 million USD), of this 567 million CNY due to houses, 230 million CNY due to education and health facilities, 213 million CNY due to road losses (about 85% of which are rural)
- 9 telecommunication base stations, a reservoir, and many canals and dikes have been damaged in this largely agricultural location - this will mean there will be additional losses due to lack of irrigation systems

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 08.55.19

Update 00:09 UTC : The best video we found so far also showing the shaking


Update 23:42 UTC : The earlier described Reservoir has been damaged and some cracks of 5 to 8 cm have been detected. The water is leaking through these cracks. The reservoir has a current capacity of 3.19 million cubic meters. Authorities are very concerned about this reservoir.

The Jinggu river reservoir - image courtesy Matthew Hartzell - Click on the image to be linked to the original

The Jinggu river reservoir - image courtesy Matthew Hartzell - Click on the image to be linked to the original

Update 22:55 UTC : Below the fault map of the epicenter area. Many faults but the direct area of today's earthquake had no direct link with historic important earthquakes. The star in the middle of the map is today's epicenter. Look especially at the elongated fault (dash's is the supposed extension of the fault running from North-West towards South-East). The Focal Mechanism of the earthquake resembles the direction of the said fault.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 01.06.36 Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 01.11.19

Update 22:55 UTC : We have been searching for a reservoir at a limited distance from the epicenter and found this reservoir on the image below. We will try to find confirmation whether it is really this reservoir which is damaged

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 01.52.43

Update 22:49 UTC : Chinese leader Xi Jinping did send his condolence to the family of the killed people and ordered the maximum support for the rescue and relieve response. A response level 4 has been called for this earthquake.

Update 22:46 UTC : - 36 bridges have been damaged to various extend
- A lot of landslides have been reported
- The damged to roads has been preliminary calculated at 114 million yuan

Update 22:09 UTC : More news is getting published now.
- In Jinggu County 92,700 people were affected
- 4,339 houses were severely damaged
- 2,169 houses collapsed (these are normally adobe and brick houses with none resistance to serious earthquakes)

Update 22:07 UTC : A reservoir (mainly used for irrigation) was seriously damaged and threatens the life of 1300 people living downstream

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 00.06.53

Update 21:59 UTC : Below the strongest aftershocks so far (there were a lot more but the others were below M2.9)

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 23.59.10

Update 21:30 UTC : Latest Chinese data is revealing that at this stage in the search and rescue that at least 2 people were killed and 324 injured

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 23.35.59

Update 18:18 UTC : It will take until the early morning in China until we can make a better intermediate report on what happened.
The good news is that new reports are saying that no town houses collapsed. A lot of cracks in walls in between 5-6 centimeters wide. There will be a lot of economic damage, but based on our experience the current fatality/injured numbers will not change a lot. Let's hope that we are right.
It is currently the middle of the night in China.
Current toll is 1 fatality and 38 injured

Update 18:15 UTC : Up to now a total of 10,600 tents transported to the disaster area, 11,000 quilts, 11000 coats, 10000 clothes, 10,000 sets.

Update 18:08 UTC : Link to a video page of a Chinese site -- Link to another video

Update 17:23 UTC :   Some discussion in the Chinese press about the number of fatalities (yes, this happens also in China). The 5 was reported by an important newspaper, but now the same newspaper contradicts in saying only 1 person was reported dead officially. The same source also says that the number of collapsed houses in Yongping is very limited, which is great news to hear. Cell phone communications is this area were only disrupted for about 30 minutes.

Update 17:10 UTC :   This is earthquake response the Chinese way : 8750 Armed Forces including 248 officers and soldiers rushed to the disaster area! The earthquake only happened a couple of hours ago. Chinese response to earthquakes is very well managed. ER wants to congratulate over and over again the way the Chinese deal with disasters, especially earthquakes. It will never be perfect of course but it is so well coordinated that it will be hard to match their effort. To give you an idea, earthquake response the Chinese way is within a couple of hours after the earthquake sending heavy equipment like crabnes and bulldozers to clear landslides, dispatching generators, setting p public and free telecommunications centers, field hospitals, etc etc etc

Update 17:03 UTC :  Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang has been briefed on the earthquake and has immediately ordered instructions to involved parties. Mr. Li Keqiang is very experienced and took the lead in many other disasters.

Update 16:58 UTC : Aftershocks so far : 30 - Search and rescue personnel on their way or reached 28 villages

Update 16:40 UTC : Chinese people are using their own social network. Since the earthquake happened 62,000 Chinese discussed the earthquake in 1 environment!

Update 16:25 UTC : New intermediate update : 5 person killed, 8 seriously injured and 20 slightly injured. Power supply and telecommunications are down on Yongping

Update 16:16 UTC : 10,000 tents, 10,000 blankets, 10,000 coats and 10,000 quilts are currently being sent to the greater epicenter area. Tents are needed as the area has a lot of medium strength aftershocks right now.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 18.14.56

Faulting map with Focal Mechanism

Probable ground movement based on the Focal Mechanism, aftershock pattern and fault map

Probable ground movement based on the Focal Mechanism, aftershock pattern and fault map

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 18.18.57

Bullets are the aftershocks so far

Update 16:04 UTC : So far 1 person killed and 19 injured

Update 16:00 UTC : Below the shaking map which was published a little while ago by the Chinese authorities. Magnitude Mw6.2. The earthquake type is the most dangerous one : strike-slip which means in human terms a mainly horizontal movement.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 18.00.06

Update 15:54 UTC : The army alone has called 1250 officers and soldiers to rush to the earthquake dispatch centers. Some personnel is already assessing the situation.

Update 15:49 UTC : More and more reports are coming in from Yongping that many houses were severely damaged

Update 15:46 UTC : A Class II emergency response has been called by the China seismological bureau. The Governor Governor Li Jiheng of Jinggu province will manage the relief and rescue work.

Update 15:27 UTC :  Reports from Yongping county are also mentioning collapsed houses. Especially older houses in China are very vulnerable as they are mostly not reinforced and have been constructed in Adobe (earth) or bricks.

Update 15:30 UTC : What we expected has happened. At least 1 person was killed and 3 injured in the location on the map below, Yongping county.

Update 15:27 UTC :  550 Military and Police be soon dispatched to assess the situation and to do some search and rescue work in the epicenter area.

Update 15:21 UTC :  No new damage reports from China. Below the expected injuries/fatalities numbers from Prof. Max Wyss who used the USGS data for his calculations. The exact location of the epicenter will decide if this earthquake will be deadly or not. When the epicenter is in the mountains, there may be a narrow escape. Epicenter calculation is a very difficult job and the projected located if often erroneous for many km.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 17.20.17

Update 15:05 UTC :   Jinggu County  reports adobe houses with cracks, tiles falling but so far no casualties. Early warning system works - Yunnan Pu'er City Earthquake Disaster Mitigation Institute Board and the Chengdu Hi-tech joint construction of earthquake early warning reports success of the earthquake early warning system. It is understood that the earthquake, 67 seconds ahead of Kunming people receive warning. ER : Nice to have BUT this early warning system is giving almost NO help at all in a radius of 20 to 30 km around the epicenter.

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 17.03.06

Update 14:54 UTC :   Some sources say a unpopulated area. Not true !!! The image below shows a distance of ONLY 14 km to Yongpingzhen, a very populated valley!

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 16.58.23

Update 14:45 UTC :  USGS has now increased the Magnitude from 5.8 to 6.0 and gives a max. shaking of MMI VII (very strong shaking) in the immediate epicenter area. USGS puts the depth at 10.1 km. Based on the skills of the Chinese seismologists, we currently use the data of the Chinese and expect a MMI VIII (severe shaking) in the direct epicenter area.

Update 14:44 UTC :  Due to the landscape we believe that this earthquake will have triggered many dangerous landslides.

Update 14:37 UTC :  According Pu'er City residents (Pu'er City is at 86 km from the epicenter), the shaking was very noticeable and a lot of people are outdoors to escape. Communication was briefly interrupted but is now restored again. No reports of collapsed buildings so far.

Update 14:28 UTC : So far only reports of slight damage but we have to take into account that it is dark right now and we expect telecommunications down in and around the epicenter itself.

Update 14:25 UTC : The direct area of the epicenter is very mountainous BUT we count a population of at least 300,000 people near the epicenter and even 2.5 million people in a radius of 100 km.

Update 14:23 UTC : The Chinese are reporting so far already 3 aftershocks of respectively 3.4, 3.4 and 3.6

Update 14:21 UTC : Contrary to the international agencies, the Chinese seismological agency reports a Magnitude of 6.6 at an extremely shallow depth of 5 km.
The earthquake was felt as fat as the Yunnan capital Kunming

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 16.19.36 Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 16.30.43

City : Lincang City (from the epicenter approximately 68.6 kilometers)
City: Pu'er City (from the epicenter approximately 84.0 kilometers)
City: Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture (from the epicenter approximately 157.6 kilometers)
City: Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture (from the epicenter approximately 211.0 kilometers)
City: Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture (from the epicenter approximately 226.4 kilometers)
City: Yuxi City (from the epicenter approximately 233.7 kilometers)
City: Baoshan City (from the epicenter approximately 234.3 kilometers)
City: Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture (from the epicenter approximately 247.1 kilometers)

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 6.1

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2014-10-07 21:49:44

GMT/UTC Time : 2014-10-07 13:49:44

Depth (Hypocenter) : 10 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

Share your earthquake experience (I Have Felt It) with our readers.
Click on the "I Felt It" button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

Refresh this list
SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
USGS Weiyuan, China Oct 07 19:01 4.2 15 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Weiyuan, China Oct 07 14:38 4.4 14 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Yunnan, China Oct 07 14:38 4.4 14 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Yunnan, China Oct 07 13:49 6.1 10 MAP
GEOFON Yunnan, China Oct 07 13:49 6.1 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Weiyuan, China Oct 07 13:49 6.0 10 MAP
  • Kunming - My first earthquake experience! Only a couple seconds long (15-20?). I am on the 7th floor and everything was swaying pretty good. Nothing falling off walls or shelves. Not enough to even wake my dog 😉
  • Kunming, Yunnan - no damage
  • Chengdu - maybe 5/10 seconds. aftershock from y'day yunnan quake?

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    City/Village where you felt the earthquake *
    Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Latitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Longitude (area) where you felt the earthquake
    Shaking Strength *
    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.
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