In Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek, people fled their homes to seek refuge in the street, according to an AFP reporter, after the quake caused walls to shake and furniture to shift. Local TV channels in the Indian capital New Delhi reported strong tremors in the city, about 1,400 kilometers away.
The quake was registered just after 2 a.m.at a depth of 13 kilometers in China’s Xinjiang region, west of the city of Aksu.
Shortly after, three more earthquakes were recorded in the area, at magnitudes 5.5 and 5.1 and 5.0.
The USGS said casualties were possible, though none were immediately reported in the mountainous, rural area where the earthquake struck.
“Significant damage is likely and the disaster is potentially widespread,” its report said.
Authorities in Kazakhstan reported tremors, though without any casualties or major destruction so far.
In Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, citizens also streamed outside following the quake, according to images posted on social media and by local news outlets.
Tuesday’s earthquake came the day after a landslide buried dozens of people and killed at least eight in the southwest of China.
A December quake in the northwest of the country killed 148 people and displaced thousands in Gansu province.
That quake was China’s deadliest since 2014, when more than 600 people were killed in southwestern Yunnan province.
In the December earthquake, subzero temperatures made the aid operation launched in response even more challenging, with survivors huddled around outdoor fires to keep warm.