The quake struck at 9:15 a.m. local time, Gatha town, 70 kilometers northwest of Gyamotang village, near Chamdo County, at a depth of just 10 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake region is near Amdo region of Tibet (Ch: Qinghai province to the north).
Latest sources say more than 10,000 residents have been relocated in the region in the wake of Wednesday's earthquake.
On the other hand the China Earthquake Networks Centre monitored the epicentre at 31.99 degrees north latitude and 94.94 degrees east longitude, with a depth of seven kilometers, according to the Chinese state-run media Xinhua News Agency.
Soren, director of the Regional Seismological Bureau, said the epicentre is located in Gatha Town, the site of two major Buddhist temples.
Roads leading to the village have caved in. Township authorities have reportedly sent machinery for emergency repairs and to assist quake relief.
Serious injuries were sustained by six of the casualties, according to a statement on the website of the 'Dingqing county government.' It gave no estimates for numbers of collapsed houses or damaged roads and bridges in Chungpo Tengchen County, eastern Tibet.
The state-owned "China News Service" reported that the earthquake had set off landslides. The tremor left over a hundred houses destroyed, and 69 people injured. Twelve severely injured people from Gatha village (Ch: Kata Town), the quake's epicenter, are currently being treated in hospital.
The Xinhua quoted the regional seismological bureau as saying that the epicenter was in Gatha Town, over 823.4 kilometers from the capital Lhasa and the site of two major Buddhist temples.
The town's chief administrator, identified by the single name of Samphel, told Xinhua he had seen two injured people on his way to help with rescue efforts in a village 10 kilometers away. Roads leading to Guodong village crumbled, the Xinhua said, hampering rescuers.
Calls to the town, county and city authorities rang unanswered, although the Tibetan regional fire service had said in an online statement that rescuers were on their way to Gatha.
The region of western China in the foothills of the Himalayas is an active earthquake zone, and a 2010 quake in nearby Yulshul County (Ch: Yushu) in Kham Province of eastern Tibet, killed almost 3,000 people.
Nearly 90,000 people were killed in China's worst quake in recent years, a 7.9 magnitude temblor that struck Sichuan province in May 2008.