18 January 2010

Very small earthquake kills seven in landslides in China

Posted by Dave Petley

AFP is reporting that an earthquake struck Guanling, Zhenfeng and Zhenning districts in Guizhou province at 09:35 UT yesterday (Sunday), triggering two landslides that have killed seven people and left one person missing. Other news agencies are reporting that one of the landslides struck a boat on a river.

The peculiar thing about this is that the earthquake appears to have been very small indeed. The USGS does not have a report of the event on its global earthquake web site, meaning that it presumably did not reach their minimum size threshold. The Chinese Earthquake Administration report is here. This confirms the occurrence of the two landslides and the seven fatalities, but also notes that the earthquake had a magnitude of just 3.4 (local magnitude ML=4.0) and a depth of 7 km. This is an usually small earthquake to trigger landslides.