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Strong Aftershock Felt on Dam of Main Quake Lake

Another strong aftershock was felt on the dam of the Tangjiashan "quake lake" at around 11:04 AM on Monday, a Xinhua reporter at the site said.

The earthquake administration has not defined the magnitude of the aftershock and its impact on the dam is under surveillance.

"I don't see any imminent danger despite the aftershock and the swelling quake lake," Xinhua reporter Li Gang said via a mobile phone text message at 12:21 PM.

Li is on the dam of the Tangjiashan lake, formed after the May 12 earthquake, with the People's Liberation Army soldiers to cover the drainage process.

"Besides, the soldiers are all veteran repairmen and peril removers," he said.

Although Monday's aftershock was clearly felt by everyone on the dam, it did not seem as powerful as Sunday's 4.8-magnitude aftershock that caused massive landslides on the mountains surrounding the Tangjiashan lake.

Yet in Dujiangyan City, another hard-hit area in Sichuan Province, Monday's aftershock sent a big rock about 1.5 meters wide and 1 meter tall rolling down the mountain and smashing the windshield of a Mitsubishi cross-country vehicle. A PLA soldier was injured.

China is still on the alert as the water level in Tangjiashan lake reached 742.58 meters above sea level as of 8:00 AM on Monday, a rise of 0.92 meters in the past 24 hours and 2.21 meters higher than the manmade spillway that began operation on Saturday morning.

Military engineers have fired short-range missiles to blast boulders in the channel to accelerate drainage. By Monday noon, the drainage speeded up to 50 cubic meters per second, but still far slower than the average influx of 115 cubic meters per second.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2008)

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