Earthquakes Strike in China's Sichuan Province
Earthquakes Strike in China's Sichuan Province

Chinese officials said Tuesday the death toll from two strong earthquakes in the country's southwestern Sichuan province had risen to at least 12 people.

The earthquakes hit late Monday, and left another 125 other people injured.

Authorities in China said the quakes were centered near the city of Changning in a largely rural area of Sichuan province.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the first quake of 5.9 magnitude was followed shortly afterward by a 5.2 quake in the same area. 

It said the quakes registered a shallow depth, which tends to cause more damage to buildings and infrastructure than deeper earthquakes. The agency warned there could be significant damage from the quakes.

Chinese state television said rescuers at the epicenter of the quake had pulled some people from the rubble alive. 

Residents in Chongqing, the nearest major city to the epicenter about 200 kilometers (124 miles) away, reported feeling shaking from the quake. State media said some houses in the city were damaged, but said no injuries were reported there.

Earthquakes regularly strike Sichuan, where a large tremor in 2008 left nearly 90,000 missing or dead.