According to the China Earthquake Administration and , a surface wave magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck southern Sichuan province, China on August 30, 2008 at 16:30:50.5 China Standard Time . The United States Geological Survey reported the same earthquake at moment magnitude 5.7.
The earthquake's epicenter was located at ,, 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 struck the same location on August 31, 2008 at 16:31:09.6 CST ,
causing at least two additional deaths.
By midnight 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 two and half months earlier in the same province 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 damages 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 and 589 injuries. CEA also reported collapse of 10,000 homes, and damage to 190,000 more. Considerable damages to highways, bridges, and reservoirs were reported.
The map published by SCEA shows a maximum intensity of liedu VIII on China Seismic Intensity Scale , somewhat equivalent to VIII on 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 and above is 9,634 km2, of which 6,265 km2 are in Sichuan.