An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale hit China's remote north-western province of Qinghai on Monday, the government said, according to dpa.
The quake struck at 9:22 am (0122 GMT) with an epicentre in Qinghai's Haixi prefecture, an area mainly inhabited by Mongolians and Tibetans, some 700 kilometres from the nearest city, Golmud, the China Earthquake Administration reported.
The epicentre was close to the Da Qaidam salt lake at an altitude of 4,000 metres on the Tibetan Plateau, in an area with a population of about 16,000.
It had a depth of about 10 kilometres, the administration said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties but the government's Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying several buildings collapsed close to the epicentre and others were damaged.
Several teams of officials were travelling to the affected area to assess the damage, the agency said.
Schools in the Da Qaidam district were closed pending safety checks, it said.
An aftershock measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale shook the same area about one hour after the first quake.