CHENGDU, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Rongxian County in southwest China's Sichuan Province have halted shale gas mining, after a magnitude 4.9-earthquake jolted the area.
The earthquake hit Rongxian at 1:15 p.m. Monday (Beijing Time). According to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC), the epicenter was monitored at 29.48 degrees north latitude and 104.49 degrees east longitude at a depth of 5 km.
Due to safety reasons and requirement on safe production, shale gas mining companies have suspended mining work, the county government said.
Two people died in the quake and 12 were injured, including three seriously. The quakes affected 13,260 people, toppled nine houses and damaged 10,911. Direct economic loss reached close to 14 million yuan (2 million U.S. dollars).
The two victims died after a balcony guard bar fell on them, according to He Yulin, a senior engineer with the Sichuan Earthquake Administration.
It was the third earthquake above magnitude 4 to strike the area in two days. Experts said that the earthquakes might have occurred due to natural causes, but they could not rule out industrial mining.