An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust, creating seismic waves. A seismic event that generates seismic waves, causing vibrations in the ground can be referred to as an earthquake. There are certain regions on Earth, where seismic activities are vigorous. These regions are prone to earthquakes, thus endangering life and property. The nations, which are prone to earthquakes, have to make permanent arrangements to save life and property of the inhabitants from the frequently occurring earthquakes. They have to prepare for oncoming earthquakes by building earthquake resistant structures and training their people to seek refuge in times of an earthquake. Despite the permanent arrangement and the seemingly foolproof preparations, the world has always witnessed devastating effects of earthquakes. Here we look at some of the major earthquakes in China.
1556 Shaanxi Earthquake
The 1556 Shaanxi earthquake also known as the Jiajing earthquake is one of the very old earthquakes on records and is noted as the deadliest earthquake. It killed about 830,000 people and affected over 97 countries. Reportedly, an area of 840 kilometers was destroyed killing 60% of the population of the region. The day that marked this disaster was January 23, 1556. This was not the era of earthquake resistant constructions and technological developments that could have helped people fight the earthquake. Consequently, the loss caused by the earthquake is almost impossible to measure.
1920 Haiyuan Earthquake
On December 16, 1920, at 12:06:53 GMT, an earthquake of 7.8 Richter struck the Haiyuan County. Around 73,000 inhabitants of Haiyuan County and about 30,000 people of the Guyuan County lost their lives. This earthquake resulted in a number of landslides and ground cracks. It affected about seven provinces in the vicinity and left a long-lasting impact on the area.
1976 Tangshan Earthquake
Also known as the Great Tangshan earthquake, this earthquake in China was a natural disaster that dates back to July 28, 1976. The earthquake's epicenter was in Tangshan in the People's Republic of China. According to the records of the Chinese Government, this earthquake became the cause of around 655,000 human deaths and as many as about 164,000 were injured. The earthquake hit China in the early morning hours and lasted for about 10 seconds. But before people could actually realize what was happening, the earthquake had ended thousands of lives.
2008 Panzhihua Earthquake
This earthquake hit the Sichuan province of China on August 30, 2008. It caused about 40 deaths and shattered around 10,000 homes. This earthquake had a great impact on the infrastructure in the area. The area that was struck by this earthquake was relatively low in population, thus resulting in a relatively lesser loss of human life. Several aftershocks followed the striking of the earthquake, causing deaths and damage to property.
2010 Yushu Earthquake
Another major earthquake that struck China was the 2010 Yushu earthquake of magnitude 6.9. It originated in Yushu, Qinghai on the morning of April 14, 2010. It took more than 2,000 lives and left more than 12,000 peeple injured. Aftershocks followed. The epicenter of this earthquake was in the Yushu County, on an earthquake prone area of the Tibetan plateau. Quick relief actions were taken by the rescue workers, local and military officials as well as the monks residing in or near the earthquake struck area. The death toll was less as compared to the Sichuan earthquake of 2008.
These earthquakes were disastrous, leading to huge losses of human life and property. An earthquake can strike anytime. If you live in an earthquake prone area, it's important to know the safety precautions to take and have an earthquake survival kit with you. There are warnings, there are measures, but nothing can really stop the destruction from happening. It's nature, in its destructive form.