Strong earthquake hits China
A powerful earthquake measuring 7.8 has hit China's southern province of Sichuan, shaking buildings as far away as Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok.
It was not immediately clear if there were any casualties or damage from the tremor which the the US Geological Survey (UGS) earlier put at 7.8.
The epicentre of the quake was 93 kilometres north of Chengdu.
Wenchuan, which took full force of the quake, has a population of 111,000 people.
It is in an ethnic Tibetan area in Aba county which recently saw violent clashes between Tibetans and Chinese authorities.
According to some reports there was a second earthquake measuring 3.9 which hit the Beijing district of Tongzhou at roughly the same time.
Telephone lines in the affected area are jammed and there are still no reports of casualties.
Reports from Thailand say high buildings in Bangkok continued to shake several minutes after the tremors began.
We felt continuous shaking for about two or three minutes. All the people in our office are rushing downstairs. We're still feeling slight tremblings, said an office worker in Chengdu.
China's tallest building, the Jinmao Tower, and other highrise buildings in Shanghai's financial district were evacuated after tremors were first felt.
People were shouting 'get out, get out', so we all ran out of our dorm, said a student surnamed Zhang at a university in nearby Chongqing.
A spokesman for the China Earthquake Administration said it was still checking the epicentre and scale of the tremor.
英语作文 China Wenchuan earthquake
Like many people in the UK, the team at BBC Learning English have been shocked and saddened by news of the earthquake in Sichuan province. We would like to extend our condolences to those affected by this terrible natural disaster. Below is a special report on the earthquake and the rescue operations taking place.
Rescue efforts are underway in China’s Sichuan province following Monday’s devastating earthquake 灾难性的地震, which measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale 里氏震级.
According to Xinhua news agency, nearly 15,000 people have died in the disaster, with as many as 24,000 more trapped under rubble 碎石，碎砖 from collapsing buildings and another 14,000 declared missing 申报失踪.
Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has visited the area to personally oversee relief work （抗震）救灾工作, and is flying to the epicentre 震中 of the earthquake today.
Chinese troops have been mobilised 调动 to carry out rescue operations and emergency aid 紧急救护 has been air-dropped 空降 into areas that have been cut off by the disaster.
Bad weather has hampered 阻碍 relief efforts and in some cases rescuers have had to trek into the disaster area 受灾地区 by foot and search for trapped survivors 生还者 by hand as roads have been blocked by debris 瓦砾碎片.
Some residents of the provincial capital 首府 Chengdu have chosen to sleep in tents and government shelters for fear of aftershocks 余震 causing more damage.
One witness in Chengdu told the BBC the city’s population is helping the relief work by donating 捐献 food and water for those affected in the surrounding countryside.
Financial aid 经济救助 has been pouring in 大量涌进 from all over China, with the Chinese government pledging hundreds of millions of dollars. Substantial donations from other countries and humanitarian organisations have also been pledged 承诺，给予（援助）.
Although full casualty figures 伤亡数字 are not yet certain, it is clear that Monday’s earthquake is the worst to strike China since the Tangshan earthquake of 1976.
An 英语作文：What is earthquake?
earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves（地震波）. Earthquakes are recorded with a seismometer（地震检波器）, also known as a seismograph（地震仪）. The moment magnitude of an earthquake is conventionally reported, or the related and mostly obsolete Richter magnitude(里氏量级）, with magnitude 3 or lower earthquakes being mostly imperceptible 感觉不到的 and magnitude 7 causing serious damage over large areas. Intensity of shaking is measured on the modified Mercalli scale（麦加利震级, 麦氏震级）.
At the Earth's surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by a shaking and sometimes displacement （位移）of the ground. When a large earthquake epicenter （震中）is located offshore, the seabed sometimes suffers sufficient displacement to cause a tsunami（海啸）. The shaking in earthquakes can also trigger land