Earthquake 7.5 hits China

BEIJING, May 12 Reuters - An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck China’s Sichuan province today, less than 100km from the provincial capital of Chengdu, the US Geological Survey said on its website.
The quake was felt across much of China and as far west as Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, some 3,300km away, where office buildings swayed for several minutes.
It was also felt in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, where buildings swayed for around half a minute. There were no immediate reports of casualties there.
And it was felt in the southern Chinese territory of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Observatory said.
It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties or damage from the tremor.
We felt continuous shaking for about two or three minutes. All the people in our office are rushing downstairs. We're still feeling slight tremblings,'' said an office worker in Chengdu. In Beijing's financial district, many workers poured from their buildings but there were no visible signs of damage. The subway system was unaffected. People were shouting ‘get out, get out’, so we all ran out of our dorm,’’ said a student surnamed Zhang at a university in nearby Chongqing.
USGS said on its website ( that the quake struck at 0628 GMT (1628 AEST) at a depth of 29kms. The agency originally put the strength of the quake at 7.8.
Japan’s meteorological agency said no warnings for a tsunami has been issued.
Sources said there was no immediate impact to the Three Gorges Dam project.
A spokesman for the China Earthquake Administration said it was still checking the epicentre and scale of the tremor.

BEIJING, May 12 AFP - Sports venues built for the Beijing Olympics were undamaged by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck southwest China today, a Games spokesman said.
They are earthquake proof to a high degree and no damage was done,'' said Sun Weide, deputy director for the Olympic media and communications department. All 31 venues and related sites in Beijing and facilities in six host cities around China were unaffected by the major quake that was felt as far away as Hong Kong and Taipei. A tremor of magnitude 3.9 was registered in Beijing at the same time as the major quake, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency, and saw office workers fleeing in panic from some high-rise buildings. However, Sun said officials at Olympic Tower, the headquarters of the Beijing Olympic organising committee in northwestern Beijing, worked through the quake and felt nothing. Sun said the fact that Beijing was in an earthquake zone was taken into consideration during the construction of venues such as the new National Stadium known as the Bird's Nest, and other key structures including the National Aquatics Centre, or Water Cube. These are very safe venues,’’ he said.
Li Jiulin, engineer-in-chief for the National Stadium project, told Xinhua the venue had been designed to withstand an eight-magnitude quake.
He said more than 3,000 workers were carrying out finishing touches to the project when the quake struck.
The Bird’s Nest is scheduled for completion later this month and will host the four-day China Open athletics competition on May 22.

BEIJING, May 12 Reuters - An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people were killed in one county of China’s Sichuan province alone after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the region, Xinhua news agency said, citing the local government.
As many as 10,000 in Sichuan’s Beichuan county were feared injured, the report said.