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Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Houston

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Major earthquakes on Chinese mainland since 1966

 

        China is an earthquake-prone country. Listed below are the 12 destructive earthquakes measuring above 7 on the Richter scale that have hit China's mainland since 1966:

1.     Xingtai Earthquake in Hebei Province, 1966

In the early morning of March 8, 1966, an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale occurred in the east of Longyao County, Xingtai Prefecture of northern China's Hebei Province.

Five earthquakes above magnitude 6 followed. On March 22, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake occurred in Ningjin County in the north of the epicenter.

The Xingtai earthquake claimed 8,064 lives, with 38,000 injured and more than 5 million houses destroyed.

China set off establishing its own earthquake prediction system based on the Xingtai earthquake in 1966.

2.     Daguan Earthquake in Yunnan Province, 1974

On May 11, 1974, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked Daguan, southwest China's Yunnan Province. And the quake was strongly felt in Yunnan's neighboring province Sichuan. The calamity killed 1,423 people, injured 1,600 others, and damaged 66,000 houses, of which 28,000 were completely destroyed.

3.     Haicheng Earthquake in Liaoning Province, 1975

On February 4, 1975, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit Haicheng, a town with about 100,000 inhabitants, in Liaoning Province, northeast China.

Based on studies of such precursor events and on observing animals' abnormal behaviors, the local authorities issued an earthquake warning on February 3. Early in the morning of February 4, most inhabitants were evacuated to comparatively safer places. And 1,328 people lost their lives when the earthquake hit the town at 7:36 in the evening. Thanks to the quake warning, the death toll was relatively smaller than what could have been without.

4.     Longling Earthquake in Yunnan Province, 1976.

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake and a 7.4-magnitude earthquake occurred in Longling County, western Yunnan Province on May 29, 1976.

The two great earthquakes brought disasters to 16 districts and townships. The most devastated area reached about 1,883 square kilometers. The catastrophe killed 98 people, with 451 people severely injured, and more than 420,000 houses collapsed.

5.     Tangshan Earthquake in Hebei Province, 1976

At 3:42 a.m. on July 28, 1976, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit the sleeping city of Tangshan, in north China's Hebei Province, about 95 miles east and slightly south of the national capital Beijing.

The great earthquake obliterated Tangshan and killed some 242,000 people, making it the deadliest earthquake of the 20th century, and caused 5.4 billion yuan (770 milllion U.S. dollars) of losses.

The ground shook for about 90 seconds, during which about 90 percent of the houses and buildings in Tangshan collapsed.

6.     Songpan Earthquake in Sichuan Province, 1976

On August 16, 1976, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake occurred between Songpan County and Pingwu County in Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province.

Two major aftershocks of magnitude 6.7 and 7.2 occurred successively on August 22 and August 23. A total of 38 people lost their lives during the three earthquakes striking four counties ? Songpan,  Pingwu, Maowen and Nanping. And there were 2,800 heads of livestock lost, while more than 5,000 houses collapsed. Thirty bridges and several small hydropower stations were destroyed.

7.     Xinjiang Earthquake, 1985

A 7.4-magnitude earthquake occurred in a mountain at the border of Wuqia and Shufu counties in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Aug.23, 1985.

8.     Yunnan Earthquake, 1988

Two tremors measuring 7.6 and 7.2 on the Richter scale occurred respectively in Lancang and at the border area of Gengma and Cangyuan counties, in the southwestern Yunnan Province on Nov. 6, 1988.

9.     Yunnan Earthquake, 1995

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit the Sino-Myanmese border area in Menglian County, in southwestern China on July 12, 1995.

Thanks to the quake warning, the town with a population of 600,000 only lost 11 people to the calamity.

10. Yunnan Earthquake, 1996

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit the Lijiang area in Yunnan Province on Feb. 3, 1996.

11. Jilin Earthquake, 2002

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Wangqing, northeast China's Jilin Province on June 29, 2002.

12. Wenchuan Earthquake in Sichuan Province, 2008

An 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit Wenchuan County in China's southwestern Sichuan Province at 14: 28 on May 12, 2008. The death toll already reached 34,073 as of May 19, while 245,108 people were injured.

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