The earthquake struck the region where Sunan County in Gansu province and Menyuan County in Qinghai province meet at 5:37 a.m. local time, the China Earthquake Networks Center said.
The epicenter of the quake was located at a depth of 4.34 miles, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.
Feng Xiuying, vice director of the publicity department of Menyuan County said the quake was strongly felt in the area.
Residents were taken to a town square in the county to seek refuge in case of structural damage to homes and other buildings, Xinhua reported.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]