Striking around dawn while many locals were at home, the quake collapsed buildings in Jiegu Township, near the epicenter, trapping hundreds under rubble, Huang Limin, deputy secretary-general of the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, told the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
More than 85 percent of the houses in Jiegu, a town of 100,000 people, were destroyed, Zhuo Huaxia, a prefectural official told Xinhua: "The streets in Jiegu are thronged with panicked, injured people, with many bleeding in the head. Many students are buried under the debris due to building collapse at a vocational school."
With memories of the 2008 earthquake in neighboring Sichuan Province still strong, the government’s response to this disaster will be closely watched, particularly since the quake zone is in a poor area largely inhabited by ethnic Tibetans.
Location map from USGS
Here is the seismogram as recorded on the Franklin & Marshall College seismograph: