Strong and shallow M6.1 earthquake hits Yunnan, China

Strong and shallow M6.1 earthquake hits Yunnan, China

A strong and shallow earthquake registered by the USGS as M6.1 hit Yunnan, China at 13:48 UTC (21:48 LT) on May 21, 2021. The agency is reporting a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles). EMSC is reporting M6.0 at a depth of 5 km (3.1 miles). The quake was preceded by M4.6 at 12:56 and M5.3 at 13:21 UTC.

The epicenter was located 28 km (18 miles) NW of Dali (population 134 040) and 125 km (78 miles) S of Lijiang (population 1 137 600), China.

There are about 3 800 000 people living within 100 km (62 miles).

4 000 people are estimated to have felt very strong shaking, 304 000 strong, and 737 000 moderate.

The USGS issued a Green alert for shaking-related fatalities (low likelihood of casualties) and an Orange alert for economic losses.

Significant damage is likely and the disaster is potentially widespread. Estimated economic losses are less than 1% of GDP of China. Past events with this alert level have required a regional or national level response.

Image credit: TW/SAM, Google

Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are vulnerable to earthquake shaking, though resistant structures exist. The predominant vulnerable building types are adobe block with wood and rubble/field stone masonry construction.

Recent earthquakes in this area have caused secondary hazards such as landslides that might have contributed to losses.

Estimated population exposure to earthquake shaking

Selected cities exposed

Regional seismicity



CGTN said rescuers recovered 2 bodies and found 9 others in the rubble.

Authorities said some of the roads collapsed while landslides cut some transportation lines.

Electricity, telephones and internet were not interrupted.

May 22

On Saturday, May 22, local authorities said three people were killed (2 in Yangbi county and 1 in Yongpin) and 27 injured -- 3 severely.

Some buildings had collapsed while others were damaged.

More than 20 000 people had been evacuated, Xinhua reported.

Featured image credit: TW/SAM, Google


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