The Chinese government’s seismological bureau and state-run television said the quake hit shortly after 8 a.m. in Lushan county in the city of Ya’an, home to China’s famous pandas.
The news office for the Sichuan provincial government said on its official microblog account that two people were reported killed in Lushan and that two townships had suffered severe damages.
The bureau initially measured the quake at magnitude-7, while the U.S. Geological Survey recorded it at 6.6-magnitude, powerful enough to cause severe damage. Its depth was shallow, less than 13 kilometers or 8 miles, which could magnify the impact.
The Xinhua News Agency said that the quake rattled buildings in the provincial capital of Chengdu 115 kilometers, or 70 miles, to the east.
The provincial news office said the quake was felt in neighboring provinces.
The epicenter lies along the same Longmenshan fault where the devastating 7.9-magnitude quake struck in May 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead.