Magnitude 7.3 quake jolts northwestern Qinghai province following another magnitude 6.0 tremor in the country's southwest Yunnan province that left at least two dead.

Villagers shift through the rubble of destroyed houses as rescuers search for missing persons in the quake-hit town of Longtoushan in Ludian County in southwest China's Yunnan province, on August 6, 2014. [FILE]
Villagers shift through the rubble of destroyed houses as rescuers search for missing persons in the quake-hit town of Longtoushan in Ludian County in southwest China's Yunnan province, on August 6, 2014. [FILE] (AP)

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 has jolted China's northwestern Qinghai province, the US Geological Survey said –– following another tremor in the country's southwest Yunnan province that left at least two dead.

The epicentre of the quake in Qinghai, which struck at 2:04 am (1804 GMT on Friday) at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres, was located about 400 kilometres southwest of the city of Xining, US seismologists said.

The quake was initially measured at a magnitude of 7.4 but then slightly revised downwards by the USGS.

The sparsely populated province is spread across the Tibetan plateau.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage.

In 2010, a 6.9-magnitude quake in Qinghai left 3,000 people dead or missing.

Yunnan earthquake

Earlier, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The quake hit at 21:48 (1348 GMT) near the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnany of Dali at a depth of 10 kilometres, it said on Friday.

The China Earthquake Networks Center warned people to "stay away from buildings" in a post on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.

The quake monitor said the earthquake followed "a series of smaller quakes" less than an hour before.

According to CGTN, Yangbi Yi Autonomous County of the region was hit by a series of quakes starting with a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, followed by magnitude 5.0 and magnitude 5.6 aftershocks. 

Frequent seismic activity

Yunnan is acutely vulnerable to earthquakes. The region sees frequent seismic activity from the collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which form the vast Himalayan mountain range.

In October 2014, hundreds of people were injured and more than 100,000 displaced after a shallow 6.0 magnitude tremor hit Yunnan, close to China's borders with Myanmar and Laos.

China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially in its mountainous western and southwestern regions where Yunnan lies.

A powerful 7.9-magnitude quake in southwest Sichuan province in 2008 left 87,000 people dead or missing.

In February 2003, a powerful 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and caused significant damage.

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Source: AFP