Global & Disaster Medicine

6/17/2019: M 5.8 – 19km S of Changning, China: Left 12 people dead and 135 others injured.

DYFI intensity map

The June 17, 2019, M 5.8 earthquake in the Chinese province of Sichuan occurred as the result of oblique reverse and strike-slip faulting at shallow depths in the crust of the Eurasia plate. Focal mechanism solutions for the event indicate rupture occurred on either a steeply dipping fault striking towards the south, or on a more moderately dipping fault striking towards the northwest. The location, depth and preliminary focal mechanism solution for this earthquake indicate the event occurred as the result of intraplate faulting within the Eurasia plate.

On a continental scale, the seismicity of central and eastern Asia is a result of northward convergence of the India plate against the Eurasia plate at a velocity of about 50 mm/yr. The convergence of the two plates is broadly accommodated by the uplift of the Asian highlands and by the motion of crustal material to the east away from the uplifted Tibetan Plateau.  The June 17 event occurred near the edge of a major uplifted plateau to the south and the Sichuan Basin to the north and may relate to the active tectonics of this juxtaposition.

Seismicity in the region is relatively common, with five earthquakes above M 6.0 within 250 km distance since 1900.  The most recent such event was the August 3, 2014 M 6.2 event near Wenping China, about 200 to the southwest.  Slightly further away, the very large May 12, 2008, M 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake occurred about 330 km northwest of June 17 event.  That event killed more than 69,000 people, with an estimated economic loss of 86 Billion US dollars.

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