AN earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale has forced the Xinjiang government to move 144 families in a village of Yutian County to safe places, Xinhua news agency reported today.

Four aftershocks also rocked the largely uninhabited area near the county.

The government confirmed there were no casualties in the quake. The epicenter was in an area on Kunlun Mountain with an average altitude of 5,500 meters, the report said.

The first and strongest jolt occurred at 6:33am today. The four aftershocks measured between 5.2 and 5 on the Richter scale between 7am and 8am, the report added, citing the Chinese Seismological Bureau.

People reported feeling the earth shake more than a kilometer from the epicenter, the report said.

Pulu Village, the remotest village in the county, which is 80 kilometers away from the quake, was the only inhabited place affected.

Four houses collapsed and some others were damaged.

The elementary school in the village has been closed.

The other 304 families in the village, who moved to quake-proof houses built by the local government before the quake, have not been affected, the report added.

The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government began to build quake-proof houses across the autonomous region. The government has built 257,000 of such houses in Hetian District as of last September. More than 12 million people have moved into the houses.