YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A strong earthquake struck northern Myanmar on Sunday, causing residents to flee their homes, but no injuries or major damage were immediately reported.
An official from the Meteorological Department in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw, said the magnitude-6.8 quake struck at 7:42 a.m. local time with its epicenter near Shwebo, a town about 117 kilometers (72 miles) north of Mandalay, the country's second-largest city.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake's magnitude as 6.6 with a depth of just 10 kilometers (6 miles).
Residents of Mandalay who were contacted by phone said the quake was strong enough to send people dashing out of their homes for safety, as water splashed out of jars. They said they saw no major structural damage in their immediate neighborhoods, but added that it did cause cracks in some walls.
The epicenter of the quake is a region frequently hit by small temblors that usually cause little damage.
The Myanmar meteorological official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information to the media, said there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. But he said the quake could cause damage to some of the old Buddhist temples and other structures associated with past kingdoms that are in the area.
The quake was also felt in Bangkok, the capital of neighboring Thailand. It comes just a week ahead of a scheduled visit to Myanmar by President Barack Obama. He will be the first U.S. president to visit the one-time pariah nation, which is emerging from decades of military rule.