BEIJING (AP) — A county in western China has suspended drilling for shale gas after a protest by residents who suspected fracking work was the cause of a series of earthquakes that led to two deaths.

The first quake hit Sichuan province's Rongxian county on Sunday morning, followed by two more, including a magnitude 4.9 temblor on Monday afternoon that caused the two fatalities. Twelve people were injured.

The county government said in a message on its microblog that mining activities and handling of dangerous chemicals were also suspended but would be gradually restored. It didn't directly link the quakes to fracking, but acknowledged residents' "suspicions."

Sichuan often is rocked by earthquakes, including a 7.9 magnitude quake in its mountainous western region on May 12, 2008 that killed nearly 90,000 people.

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