Sichuan Province may be hit with further strong aftershocks, Party chief of the China Earthquake Network Center (CENC) Li Qianghua warned on Tuesday.
A powerful aftershock measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale rocked Sichuan's capital Chengdu at 3:10 PM on Tuesday. The epicenter was again in Wenchuan County which was hit by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Monday afternoon.
According to Li, the energy of an earthquake is not completely spent by the initial quake; remaining energy is released in the form of aftershocks. Earthquake forecast statistics from CENC indicated that there would be hundreds of aftershocks over the next month. But since aftershocks release relatively small amounts of energy, they do not usually endanger lives and property. As the intervals between shocks become longer, their magnitude declines correspondingly.
But Li warned that in the short term aftershocks measuring more than 6 in magnitude are still possible in Wenchuan County and nearby areas. People in these areas should remain vigilant and stay out of damaged buildings.
(China.org.cn by Xiang Bin, May14, 2008)