The death toll from the latest earthquake to rock Sichuan is beginning to mount. Xinhua now says at least 28 people died in the strong quake that hit on Saturday afternoon and destroyed 100,000 houses southeast of Panzhihua City and over the provincial border into Yunnan.
The quake, which Xinhua said was a 6.1 but the U.S. Geological Survey recorded as a 5.7, occurred at the southern end of the fault line of the May 12th quake that left 70,000 dead. Aftershocks are still continuing, including a 5.6 on Sunday, Xinhua reports, here via AFP.
Another earthquake also struck on Saturday, a 5.3 in the remote Tianshan mountains in Xinjiang. No reports yet of casualties.
There were a couple of 6.1 quakes in Sichuan at the beginning of this month. The May quake seems to have increased stress on faults in and around the Sichuan basin, which may explain why there have been so many strong aftershocks since. These could continue for years, says Tom Parsons of the U.S. Geological Survey, whose analysis of the geological effects of the May 12 quake, Stress changes from the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake and increased hazard in the Sichuan basin, was published in Nature earlier this year.