A strong earthquake struck in the remote mountains of Central Asia on Thursday, cracking walls but apparently causing no major damage or casualties, officials in Kyrgyzstan said.
The quake struck at 5:03 p.m. local time (1101 GMT) on the border between the former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, 120 kilometers south of the Kyrgyz city of Osh, according to a duty officer at Kyrgyzstan's Emergency Situations Ministry.
The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.3, said Bill Grant, a geophysicist at the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado. He said the epicenter was 75 kilometers (45 miles) southeast of Fergana, a city in Uzbekistan.
The quake was felt in Fergana, and two other cities in eastern Uzbekistan, Andizhan and Namangan, said Khasan Mirzakhodjayev, an official with Uzbekistan's seismology service. He said no destruction or casualties were reported in Uzbekistan.
Earthquakes are common in the mountains of Central Asia, but strong quakes sometimes do little damage because the region is sparsely populated. However, a 6.9-magnitude quake that hit northern Afghanistan and Tajikistan in May 1998 killed as many as 5,000 people.
Associated Press, September 5, 2002