Murals under scrutiny after 5.0-magnitude quake hits Xinjiang

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URUMQI, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Archaeologists are checking the murals in a site of ancient Buddhist grottoes after a 5.0-magnitude earthquake jolted northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region early Monday morning, with no casualties reported so far.

The quake struck Baicheng County of Aksu Prefecture in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region at 3:21 a.m., according to the China Earthquake Networks Center, with the epicenter monitored at a depth of 10 km.

The county authorities said the epicenter was sparsely populated, and the local grid, oil and gas pipelines were all in normal operation. Baicheng is an important energy producer in Xinjiang.

Meanwhile, local researchers are checking the condition of the murals in the Kizil Grottoes after experiencing "slight tremors."

Built in the third century, the Kizil Grottoes are among China's earliest sites of large-scale Buddhist grottoes. With 10,000 square meters of frescoes and colorful sculptures, they reveal the history of Buddhism spreading eastward via the western region. Enditem

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