At least 75 killed and more than 400 injured after quake measuring up to 6.6 magnitude.
A strong earthquake struck a rural part of western China on Monday morning, killing at least 75 people, according to state media.
The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland with a population of 26 million. That makes it one of China's more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns, with a total population of about 2.7 million.
The government's earthquake monitoring service said an additional 459 people were injured.
The deaths and injuries were reported in Min County and other rural southern parts of the municipality, Dingxi mayor Tang Xiaoming told the state broadcaster CCTV. Tang said damage was worst in the counties of Zhang and Min, where scores of homes were damaged and telephone and electricity services knocked out.
Residents described shaking windows and swinging lights but little major damage and little panic. Shaking was felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou and as far away as Xi'an, 250 miles (400 kilometres) to the east.
"You could see the chandeliers wobble and the windows vibrating and making noise, but there aren't any cracks in the walls. Shop assistants all poured out onto the streets when the shaking began," said a front desk clerk at the Wuyang Hotel in the Zhang County seat, about 25 miles from the epicentre. The clerk identified herself only as Bao.
The government's earthquake monitoring centre said the initial quake at 7.45am local time (12.45am BST) was magnitude-6.6 and subsequent tremors included a magnitude-5.6.
The quake was shallow, which can be more destructive. The centre said it struck about 12.4 miles beneath the surface, while the Gansu provincial earthquake administration said it was just 3.7 miles deep.
The US Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the initial quake as 5.9 and the depth at 6 miles.
China's worst earthquake in recent years was a 7.9-magnitude temblor that struck the southwestern province of Sichuan in 2008, leaving 90,000 people dead or missing.