Strong 6.1 earthquake hits eastern Tajikistan: USGS

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 24 2011 12:22 PM | Updated as of Jan 24 2011 11:06 PM

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (UPDATE) - A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit a mountainous area of eastern Tajikistan early Monday, the US Geological Survey and Tajik authorities said, adding there were no initial reports of damage.

The epicentre of the tremor, which occurred at 7:45 am local time (0245 GMT), was located 106 kilometers (66 miles) southwest of the city of Karakul, near the country's border with China, USGS said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

"For the moment we have no information about any victims," a spokesman for the Tajik emergency situations ministry said.

"The epicentre was located at 362 kilometres south of Dushanbe, the capital. The magnitude was 6 there and 3 in Dushanbe," an official from the Tajik seismic centre told AFP.

Residents in high-rise buildings in the capital reported light tremors, an AFP journalist said.

An earthquake in the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan in January left nearly 600 people homeless in the dead of winter.

The former Soviet republic, which also shares a border with Afghanistan, is prone to earthquakes. About 93 percent of its territory is made up of mountains.