A strong earthquake with numerous aftershocks jolted the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan this morning, and at least 14 people were reported killed.
The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5, struck at 6:46 a.m., China's Central Seismology Bureau said.
The temblor was centered 35 miles northwest of the provincial capital of Kunming, about 1,300 miles southwest of Beijing, said a seismologist who identified himself only by his surname, Ma.
"The earthquake was relatively strong, and there were many aftershocks," Ma said.
He described the epicenter, Wuding County, as mountainous and sparsely populated. Don Kelly, a spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington, said previous earthquakes in the area have caused casualties.
At least 14 people were killed, said Luo Shaode, an official in the seismology bureau in Wuding County. He said most telephone lines had been cut, making it difficult to know if there were more deaths.
A quake with a magnitude of 6 can cause severe damage to populated areas; one of magnitude 7 indicates a major earthquake capable of widespread heavy damage.
In July, a tremor measuring 7.3 jolted the Menglian region of Yunnan, killing 11 people and injuring 136.