Strong earthquake hits southwest China
Magnitude 7.5 temblor felt as far away as Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok
updated 3:08 a.m. ET May 12, 2008

BEIJING, China - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 struck western China on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on its Web site.

The quake struck 57 miles northwest of the Sichhuan provincial capital of Chengdu at 2:28 p.m. (2:28 a.m. ET), the survey said on its Web site. It said the quake was centered 18 miles below the surface.

It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties or damage from the tremor which the USGS earlier put at 7.8.

The tremor was felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai and the Thai capital Bangkok, where office buildings swayed with the impact.

"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.

Sources said there was no immediate impact to the Three Gorges Dam project, the weight of whose massive reservoir, hundreds of miles from Chengdu, experts have said could increase the risk of tremors.

A spokesman for the China Earthquake Administration said it was still checking the epicenter and scale of the tremor.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Original article: MSNBC
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