A series of powerful earthquakes jolted north-west and south-west China, killing at least three people, according to The Guardian.

Earthquakes are common in both Qinghai province in the northwestern Tibetan plateau and Yunnan province in the south-western part of China. And both tremors were shallow, which means they did more damage.

The Yunnan quake, with a magnitude of 6.1, struck first at 9:48 p.m. Friday (1348 GMT) near Dali, a popular tourist destination, according to the US Geological Survey. There were at least two aftershocks.

Three people were killed and 27 were injured, according to local authorities, who spoke to state broadcaster CCTV on Saturday.

A few hours later, at 1804 GMT, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck China’s sparsely populated Qinghai province in the north-west, followed by an aftershock.

From the remote area, there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. According to the state news agency Xinhua, the epicentre is in Maduo county.

Video: A man is seen trapped in debris after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit China’s Qinghai province.

In Yunnan, the provincial government stated that some buildings had collapsed and others had been damaged, and that the “disaster situation was being investigated further.” It was reported that over 20,000 people had been evacuated. The area is home to more than 100,000 people, the vast majority of whom live in rural communities.

Local media broadcast videos of ceiling lamps swinging and vases falling off shelves, as well as groups of people running outside after hearing the earthquake.

Video: Earthquake Today in China | 7.4-Magnitude Earthquake Hits China’s Qinghai Province (May 21, 2021)

The China Earthquake Networks Centre (CENC) warned people to “stay away from buildings” in a post on the Twitter-like Weibo platform. The quake monitor said the earthquake followed a series of smaller quakes less than an hour before.

China’s two large quakes today are not likely directly connected – their epicenters are approx. 500 miles apart, but both are ultimately caused by the enormous tectonic forces at play in the ongoing continental collision between the Indian subcontinent against and underneath Eurasia, creating the Himalayan mountain belts and raising the Tibet plateau.

The area experiences frequent seismic activity. In 2020, a magnitude 5 earthquake in Yunnan killed four people and injured 23, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

China’s worst earthquake in recent years struck the mountainous western portion of Sichuan province to the north of Yunnan in 2008, killing nearly 90,000 people.

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