China's Gansu province was hit by two quakes, the first being at 7:45 am local time today. Gansu province is a region of mountains, desert and pastureland in central North China. Despite the province being heavily populated with 26 million inhabitants the nearest city, Dingxi, has a less dense population of 2.7 million residents most of which are farmers.

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 Gansu province is highlighted in red with the epicentre of the earthquake being in the centre of the southern most lobe.

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.

The Gansu region is probably most famed for its 'colourful hills' at Danxia. These were formed as a result of sedimentary deposits of sandstone being weathered and coloured due to different mineral contents. Unrelated to tectonic activity however an interesting geological formation.

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    Josh Long studied geology at the University of East Timor, consequently completing a PhD in geology at the prestigious University of Panama.

    Tom Ruddell studied Geophysics with French at the University of Easter Island where he later did his PhD. Now editor of the National Geologic magazine.

    Adam Willis once picked up a rock and remarked "what the blazes is this?". An expert in the highly technical areas of Radish people and the pronunciation of German names, he has won several awards to commemorate his discoveries.


    August 2013
    July 2013