The US Geological Survey reported that the first earthquake near Dingxi city had a magnitude of 5.98 and was shallow, with a depth of just 9.8 km (6 miles). The closer to the surface an earthquake strikes, the more damage it can cause. Just over an hour later, a magnitude 5.6 quake hit the same area.
The earthquake reportedly triggered a series of mudslides and landslides, state-run news agency Xinhua reported. The Gansu military police has deployed 500 soldiers, including 120 specialist rescuers.
500 emergency tents and 2,000 quilts are also being transported to affected areas.
v April 2013 - 6.6 magnitude quake in Sichuan province kills at least 160
v September 2012 - 5.6 magnitude quake in south western Yunnan and Guizhou provinces kills at least 80
v March 2011 - magnitude 5.4 earthquake in Yunnan kills at least 22
v April 2010 - magnitude 6.9 quake hits Qinghai province, killing over 1,100
v May 2008 - magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Sichuan kills up to 90,000
The country of China occupies such a large land mass. It's bound to experience more natural events than other areas. However, they've had a bad run of momentous events. The Red Cross and other organizations are collecting donations to send aid to those affected.