Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

2008 Panzhihua earthquake

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Tsunami  None
Depth  10,000 m
Aftershocks  3 major, 439 total
Date  30 August 2008
2008 Panzhihua earthquake httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Magnitude  6.1 Ms (CEA); 5.7 Mw (USGS)
Epicenter  (Renhe (Chinese: 仁和), Panzhihua, Sichuan)
Areas affected  People's Republic of China
Max. intensity  Liedu VIII (Heavily damaging)
Similar  2008 Damxung earthquake, 2014 Kangding earthquake, 1970 Tonghai earthquake, 1950 Assam–Tibet earthquake, 1966 Xingtai earthquake

The 2008 Panzhihua earthquake struck southern Sichuan province, China on August 30 at 16:30:50.5 China Standard Time with a surface wave magnitude of 6.1 (5.7 Mw). It was not an aftershock of the Wenchuan earthquake that occurred in May of the same year. With more than 400 aftershocks, it caused over 40 deaths, the collapse of 10,000 homes and damage to other infrastructure in the area. Maximum intensity of this earthquake was VIII liedu (Heavily damaging).


Earthquake details

According to the China Earthquake Administration (CEA) and Sichuan Earthquake Administration (SCEA), a surface wave magnitude (Ms) 6.1 earthquake struck southern Sichuan province, China on August 30, 2008 at 16:30:50.5 China Standard Time (CST - 0730 UTC). The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported the same earthquake at moment magnitude (Mw) 5.7.

The earthquake's epicenter was located at 26.2°N 101.9°E / 26.2; 101.9, in the Renhe District of Panzhihua, Sichuan, which is 50 km southeast of the city center. The epicenter is 60 km from Huili County in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, 30 km from Yongren County and 55 km from Yuanmou County in neighboring Yunnan province.

The 2008 Panzhihua earthquake is also cited as the Renhe-Huili earthquake, especially in SCEA reports and early CEA reports.


A Ms 5.6 aftershock (5.5 Mw according to USGS) struck the same location on August 31, 2008 at 16:31:09.6 CST (08:31 UTC), causing at least two additional deaths.

By midnight CST September 1, there had been 439 aftershocks including the M5.6 one and two more exceeding M4.0.

Incidentally, a Ms 3.0 earthquake very close to the main quake's epicenter preceded the main quake by 2 hours 15 minutes.

Relation to Wenchuan earthquake

Whereas the Wenchuan earthquake two and half months earlier in the same province continues to invoke aftershocks even after August 30, the Panzhihua earthquake was not one of them because it was caused by a different fault line.

Response in China

Although the quake-stricken area is relatively low in population, reported at 118/km2, early casualties and property damage were significant. Within two hours, the CEA invoked its Level III emergency response protocol for disaster relief. 8,000 troops and para-militia were deployed to the disaster area.

Casualties, intensities, and damage areas

By September 5, authorities confirmed 41 deaths (35 in Sichuan, 6 in Yunnan) and 589 injuries. CEA also reported collapse of 10,000 homes, and damage to 190,000 more. Considerable damage to highways, bridges, and reservoirs were reported.

The seismic intensity map published by SCEA shows a maximum intensity of liedu VIII on China Seismic Intensity Scale (CSIS), somewhat equivalent to VIII (Heavily damaging) on EMS-94 from which CSIS drew reference. The area affected by liedu VIII earthquakes covered a north-south oriented oval of 628 km2 centered around the epicenter, 39 km long and 19 km wide, including 28 km2 in Yunnan province. The total area of liedu VI (Slightly damaging) and above is 9,634 km2, of which 6,265 km2 are in Sichuan.


2008 Panzhihua earthquake Wikipedia