Poster of the Yunnan Province, China Earthquake of 03 August 2014 - Magnitude 6.1

Tectonic Summary

The August 3, 2014 earthquake northwest of Wenping, in Yunnan Province, China, occurred as a result of shallow strike-slip faulting within the crust of the Eurasia plate. Tectonics here are broadly controlled by the convergence of the India plate with Eurasia, which has driven the uplift of the Himalayas to the west of this earthquake, and has caused the formation of numerous intraplate continental transform structures in the surrounding region, including the left-lateral Xiaojiang fault system. Local deformation rates in the region of this earthquake indicate as much as 10 mm/yr of left-lateral shear. At the latitude of the August 3 event, India moves northwestward with respect to Eurasia at a rate of approximately 51 mm/yr. Strong earthquakes are reasonably common in the Yunnan, and bordering Sichuan provinces; the area within 500 km of the August 3 earthquake has hosted 27 other earthquakes of M 6 or above over the past century. Earthquakes here are also often damaging and deadly, as a result of the high vulnerability of most residential structures in this dominantly agricultural province. Nearby earthquakes in the M5-6 range in April 1985, October 1995, November 2003, August 2004, and August 2006, all caused fatalities - the largest (October 1995, M 6.2) resulted in approximately 50 deaths. In May 1974, a M 6.8 earthquake 115 km to the northeast of the August 2014 quake caused approximately 1,540 fatalities and a similar number of injuries. As of 30 hours after the 2014 earthquake, news reports indicate this M 6.1 event has caused close to 400 fatalities, 1,800 injuries and the destruction of at least 12,000 houses, some due to landslides that have resulted from the earthquake and heavy regional rainfall.

Earthquake Report

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