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Tibet quake bigger than first thought after crack found

September 2, 2008

By Xie Chuanjiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-08-30 08:34
(China Daily is an official publication of the People’s Republic of 
China)

A 10-km-long crack belt running south to north was found on Thursday 
in Zhongba county of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which elevated the 
scale of the earthquake that struck the area on Monday to magnitude 
8, a local official said.

Related readings:
  Strong earthquake hits southern Tibet
  Two thousand evacuated after quake in Tibet
  Fund and materials sent to quake-hit area in Tibet
Zhu Quan, head of the Tibet earthquake bureau, said the crack was 30 
km to the west of the town of Longgeer and 5,200 m above sea level, 
and there were also sand blast and water gushing along it.

"All these take the magnitude up to 8 from 6.8 reported on Monday," 
Zhu told the China News Service.

The tremor will have no effect on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, which is 
several hundred kilometers from the quake zone, he said.

Although the earthquake had, as of Wednesday, affected 7,600 people 
and damaged 622 houses and 54 schools, conditions in the area were 
stable, he said.

No casualties have been reported.

Zhongba Party Secretary Zhu Jiang said life and work had gone back to 
normal by Friday.

The local government has allocated an emergency fund of 3 million 
yuan ($440,000) for food and clothing, he said.

The county has also received 400 tents and 3,500 quilts from local 
governments, he said.

Health and quarantine departments in the country have also prepared 
medicines in case of emergencies, Zhu said.

"More relief materials are on the way," Zhu Jiang was quoted by the 
Xinhua News Agency as saying.

Primary schools in the three worst-hit towns were told to postpone 
the new term, which was due to start on Monday, he said.

Monday's quake occurred at 9:22 pm and its epicenter was about 10 km 
underground.

More than 2,000 people were evacuated from their homes on Tuesday.

A hydropower station was slightly damaged in the quake, Zhu Quan said.

The counties of Gerze and Coqen in neighboring Ali Prefecture also 
felt the quake, but sustained no damage, he said.

The lack of casualties is due to the "comfortable-living project" 
implemented by the Tibet regional government, he said.

Under the project, farmers have been moved to new homes built to 
withstand earthquakes.

Zhongba, which has a population of 18,000 and an area of 43,594 sq 
km, experiences frequent quakes.

It is 4,700 m above sea level.

A 6.7-magnitude quake occurred in the same area in 2004, followed by 
a 6.5-magnitude quake on April 8, 2005, but neither caused 
casualties, the regional earthquake bureau said.
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