The first earthquake measured 5.98 on the richter scale with the second being 5.6 in magnitude. According to the US Geological Survey the earthquake's hypocentre was 9.8 km deep and so was considered a shallow quake.
Tremors were felt up to 400km away including in the provincial capital of Lanzhou.
There have been 75 dead and 400 recorded injured so far with the Dingxi government claiming an economic cost of roughly £21 million. Over 380 houses have collapsed in Dingxi with 500 soldiers including 120 specialist rescuers being deployed to search the rubble.
The earthquake was most likely caused by the movement of crust at one of the numerous faults surrounding the Gansu region and much of China.
China has seen several earthquakes above magnitude 5.5 in recent years including the magnitude 7.9 quake in the Sichuan province which killed 90,000 in 2008.