Forty - seven people have been killed and nearly 300 injured in twin earthquakes that struck China’s northwestern province of Gansu.According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the initial 5.9 magnitude tremor occurred at 7:45 a.m. local time on Monday, with its epicenter 151 kilometers and at a depth of 9.8 kilometers west of Beidao. A second 5.6 magnitude quake struck the same area at 9:12 a.m. and was 10.1 kilometers deep, the USGS said. Reports coming out of China suggest that seven towns have been severely damaged by the tremors and rescue teams have been sent to the affected areas to search for survivors. Much of western China is prone to earthquakes. The worst of China’s earthquakes in recent years happened on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan Province, where about 70,000 people lost their lives and at least 4.8 million people were displaced. The 8-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan was the deadliest to strike China since the 1976 quake in Tangshan, known as the Great Tangshan Earthquake, which claimed the lives of 240,000 people.