UPDATE: AP reports that authorities have said that at least 12 people are dead and 135 others injured, with rescue efforts continuing on Tuesday.
An earthquake in China late Monday was powerful enough to cause considerable or severe damage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck in the Chinese province of Sichuan, near the city of Changning, which is 125 miles southwest of Chongqing, a major city. It struck at 10:56 p.m. local time, or 10:56 Monday morning EDT.
According to various foreign media, Chinese officials said rescue personnel are on the scene. They report there are injuries and that at least one person has died.
According to the USGS, the earthquake “occurred as the result of oblique reverse and strike-slip faulting at shallow depths in the crust of the Eurasia plate.” In other words, it was not the result of major tectonic plates slipping against each other along fault lines.
A catastrophic earthquake, magnitude 7.9, occurred about 205 miles northwest in 2008 in Sichuan Province. More than 69,000 people were killed in that event and the estimated economic damage was $86 billion.
In Chinese folklore, extraordinary natural phenomena, such as earthquakes or insect plagues, are sometimes understood as a change in the mandate of heaven for the current ruler. One of the most destructive earthquakes in history, a magnitude 7.6 that killed at least 255,000 people, took place in Tangshan, northeast China, in 1976, less than two months before the death of communist leader Mao Zedong.