Powerful earthquake shakes central Myanmar

People stand outdoors after they rushed pout of their offices following tremors in Kolkata, India, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. Officials say a powerful earthquake measuring a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 has shaken central Myanmar.(AP Photo/Bikas Das)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8 shook central Myanmar on Wednesday, knocking glasses off tables and sending people running out of buildings in the country’s largest city.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, an area west of the ancient capital of Bagan. It was located fairly far below the Earth’s surface at a depth of about 84 kilometers (52 miles), it said. Deep earthquakes generally cause less surface damage.

Worried residents of Yangon, the country’s main city, rushed out of tall buildings, and objects toppled from tables and from Buddhist shrines in homes. However, there were no immediate reports of serious damage in the city.

USGS said some casualties and damage were possible, but the impact was likely to be fairly localized.

The epicenter is in an area where earthquakes are fairly common, but usually don’t cause many casualties because there are no large densely populated cities. However, reports of damage from remote villages are often slow to arrive.

Past quakes have damaged structures such as centuries-old Buddhist pagodas. Bagan, a major tourist attraction also known as Pagan, has hundreds of such structures.

The quake was also felt in a half dozen states in neighboring India, where people rushed out of offices and homes at several places. It caused buildings to sway in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, several hundred kilometers (miles) to the east. There were no immediate reports of damage in either country.

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