The United States Geological Survey Recorded a Magnitude 4.5 Earthquake at a depth of 12.1 km in the Tian Shan mountains in the north of China's Xinjiang Province, slightly after 1.20 pm local time (slightly after 5.20 am GMT) on Tuesday 17 September 2013. This quake is unlikely to have caused any damage or casualties, though it may have been felt locally.
The approximate location of the 17 September 2013 Xinjiang Earthquake. Google Maps.
The Tian Shan Mountains stretch for 2500 km across Xinjiang, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The Tian Shan are part of the Himalayan Orogenic Belt, mountains in Central Asia pushed upwards by the collision of India and Asia. The Indian Plate is currently pushing into the Eurasian Plate from the south at a rate of 3 cm per year. Since both are continental plates, which do not subduct, the Eurasian Plate is folding and buckling, causing uplift in the Himalayas and other mountains of Central Asia. This is not a smooth process, the rocks will remain effectively stationary for log periods of time while pressure builds up, then give suddenly, releasing large amounts of energy in the form of Earthquakes.
See also Magnitude 4.9 Earthquake in western Inner Mongolia, Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake beneath Lake Guozha, northwest Tibet, Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake hits Ürümqi in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China, Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake in eastern Kazakhstan and Earthquake in southeast Kazakhstan.
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