Written by on . Last updated March 3rd, 2024.

Under land 137 kilometer from Aksu in China, a shallow and significant M5.7 earthquake occurred in the night of Tuesday January 30th, 2024. Earthquakes like this can cause significant economic damage but are usually unlikely to result on large numbers of fatalities. Other nearby countries are Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

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Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in China, 137 kilometer (85 mi) west of Aksu in Xinjiang. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 10 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Jan 30, 2024 04:27 (Urumqi Time)
- Jan 29, 2024 22:27 Universal Time.
Location: 137 km west of Aksu, Xinjiang, China.
Coordinates 41°11'55"N 78°38'20"E.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.7
Detected by 31 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.056 .
Depth: 10 km (6 mi)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VIII
Severe

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Tsunami very unlikely
While this was a shallow earthquake, it appears to have occurred under land with a magnitude not strong enough to cause tsunami's.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Significant economic impact

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 65% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 96% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level YELLOW (significant). They expect an 34% likelyhood of between 1 and 10 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 98% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 1,000 million USD.

Roughly 2.9 million people exposed to shaking

An estimated 2.9 million have been exposed to shaking (An MMI or Modified Mercalli Intensity level II or higher) as a result of this earthquake according scientific estimates published by the USGS.

Very strong shaking and likely moderate damage may have been experienced by an estimated 40 people. At VII, it is the highest MMI level this earthquake has caused. Intensity level IV was experienced by the majority of people (around 1.4 million). In their region, light shaking and likely no damage can be expected.

People in 3 countries have been exposed to shaking. Roughly 2.4 million people were exposed to shaking in China , with level VII (very strong shaking, likely moderate damage) as the highest recorded. In Kyrgyzstan , around 460 thousand people. In Kazakhstan, shaking was experienced too.

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
540
II
Very weak None
1,403,000
III
Weak Probably none
1,446,000
IV
Light Likely none
35,610
V
Moderate Very light
6,230
VI
Strong Light
40
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

3 countries can be found within 300km of the epicenter of this earthquake: China , Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan .

Aksu in Xinjiang, China is the nearest significant place from the epicenter. The earthquake occurred 137 kilometer (85 mi) west of Aksu. The intensity of shaking and damage in Aksu is estimated to be around level IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale (light shaking, likely no damage).

Multiple major population centers exist within 300km of the earthquake that struck today. Almaty is located 269 km to the north-northwest (intensity unknown, possibly low). Aksu is located 137 km to the east and experienced an intensity of IV (light shaking, likely no damage). Kashgar is located 296 km to the southwest (intensity unknown, possibly low).

An overview of nearby towns and cities is available in the overview below. If places don't have intensity data available, it likely means the experienced impact in those places was fairly small.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
137 km (85 mi)
E from epicenter
Aksu

Xinjiang, China.
IV
Light
138 km (86 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Kyzyl-Suu

Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
III
Weak
145 km (90 mi)
N from epicenter
Karakol

Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
III
Weak
152 km (94 mi)
SSE from epicenter
Tumxuk

Xinjiang, China.
IV
Light
206 km (128 mi)
NW from epicenter
Cholpon-Ata

Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
III
Weak
223 km (139 mi)
W from epicenter
Naryn

Naryn, Kyrgyzstan.
233 km (145 mi)
ESE from epicenter
Aral

Xinjiang, China.
237 km (147 mi)
W from epicenter
At-Bashi

Naryn, Kyrgyzstan.
247 km (153 mi)
NW from epicenter
Balykchy

Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.
259 km (161 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Esik

Almaty Oblysy, Kazakhstan.
261 km (162 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Talghar

Almaty Oblysy, Kazakhstan.
269 km (167 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Almaty

Almaty, Kazakhstan.
278 km (173 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Dunbage

Xinjiang, China.
281 km (175 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Burunday

Almaty Oblysy, Kazakhstan.
281 km (175 mi)
NNW from epicenter
Otegen Batyra

Almaty Oblysy, Kazakhstan.
284 km (176 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Huangdi

Xinjiang, China.
296 km (184 mi)
SW from epicenter
Kashgar

Xinjiang, China.
297 km (185 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Elixku

Xinjiang, China.
300 km (186 mi)
SSW from epicenter
Azhatebage

Xinjiang, China.
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The graph below overlays a map of the region around the epicenter with earthquake intensity data provided by the US Geographic Survey. The highest intensity level detected for this earthquake is VII.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

Shaking reported by 10 people in 3 countries

People that feel an earthquake may report their experience to the US Geographic Survey. Currently, 10 people have reported shaking in 4 places in 3 countries (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan).We keep updating this article as more ground reports become available. You may report that you felt this earthquake here.

Places with most reports:

  • Almaty, Almaty, Kazakhstan: 7 people.
  • Baoji, Gansu, China: 1 person.
  • Boralday, Almaty, Kazakhstan: 1 person.
  • Bişkek, Bişkek, Kyrgyzstan: 1 person.

9 Aftershocks detected

After this earthquake struck, 9 smaller aftershocks occurred. At a distance of 6 km (4 mi) north-northeast of this earthquake, an aftershock struck 49 mins later. It measured a magnitude of 4.5

This main shock was prefaced by 7 smaller foreshocks. Roughly 3 days before this earthquake, a foreshock measuring MAG-5 was detected nearby this earthquake.

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Foreshock M 4.1 3 days earlier
Jan 27, 2024 06:37 (Urumqi Time)
10 km (6 mi)
WSW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 5.0 3 days earlier
Jan 27, 2024 15:03 (Urumqi Time)
1.7 km (1.1 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.4 2 days earlier
Jan 28, 2024 15:52 (Urumqi Time)
41 km (25 mi)
NW from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.4 21 hrs earlier
Jan 29, 2024 07:51 (Urumqi Time)
24 km (15 mi)
SSE from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.4 18 hrs earlier
Jan 29, 2024 10:05 (Urumqi Time)
7 km (4 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.1 18 hrs earlier
Jan 29, 2024 10:21 (Urumqi Time)
9 km (6 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Foreshock M 4.3 1 hr earlier
Jan 30, 2024 03:03 (Urumqi Time)
7 km (5 mi)
NE from Main Shock.
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.7 Jan 30, 2024 04:27
(Urumqi Time)
-
Aftershock M 4.5 49 mins later
Jan 30, 2024 05:17 (Urumqi Time)
6 km (4 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.3 1 hr later
Jan 30, 2024 05:30 (Urumqi Time)
12 km (7 mi)
NNW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.3 3 hrs later
Jan 30, 2024 07:44 (Urumqi Time)
9 km (6 mi)
NE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.0 5 hrs later
Jan 30, 2024 09:45 (Urumqi Time)
4 km (2.4 mi)
S from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.2 5 hrs later
Jan 30, 2024 09:52 (Urumqi Time)
4 km (2.4 mi)
SSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.7 21 hrs later
Jan 31, 2024 01:12 (Urumqi Time)
100 km (62 mi)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.4 1 day later
Jan 31, 2024 11:13 (Urumqi Time)
12 km (8 mi)
N from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 4.1 2 days later
Feb 1, 2024 01:21 (Urumqi Time)
18 km (11 mi)
NNE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.9 3 days later
Feb 1, 2024 18:15 (Urumqi Time)
20 km (13 mi)
W from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

The risk of aftershocks decreases rapidly over time. Usually, aftershocks are at least one order of magnitude lower than a main shock.

In only six percent of cases, significant earthquakes are followed by a larger main shock, making the current earthquake a foreshock. While the chance of this happening is not so large, it is adviced to maintain cautiousness in the hours and days following a major earthquake.

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

Earthquakes like this are common in the region

Earthquakes of this strength occur quite regularly in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since January 22nd, 2024, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit 8 km (5 mi) further north. An even stronger magnitude 7 earthquake struck on January 22nd, 2024.

In total, 3 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.7 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every 3 years.

Tsunami very unlikely

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

While MAG-6.5+ earthquakes may cause tsunami's, it appears that the epicenter of this earthquake hit under land. In addition, the reported depth is deeper than 100km, making the risk of a tsunami even less likely. However always stay cautious and monitor advice from local authorities.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake Not this earthquake.
This earthquake appears to have struck on land far from any coast.
Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.7. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 10 km (6 mi). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Sources

Last updated 03/03/24 02:38 (). As more information on this earthquake becomes available this article will be updated. This article is automatically composed based on data originating from multiple sources.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake us7000luuy
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240129_0000262
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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