1976 Tangshan earthquake

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1976 Tangshan earthquake
1976 Tangshan.png
UTC timeDoublet earthquake:    
 A: 1976-07-27 19:42:55
 B: 1976-07-28 10:45:36
ISC event 
 A: 711732
 B: 711773
 A: ComCat
 B: ComCat
Local date28 July 1976
Local timePeking time:
 A: 03:43
 B: 18:45
 A: 7.6 Mw; 7.6 Ms
 B: 7.0 Mw; 7.4 Ms
DepthA: 12.2 km
B: 16.7 km
Epicenter39°38′N 118°06′E / 39.63°N 118.10°E / 39.63; 118.10
39°43′N 118°26′E / 39.72°N 118.44°E / 39.72; 118.44
Max. intensityXI (Catastrophe)

The 1976 Tangshan earthquake (Chinese: 唐山大地震) was a natural disaster resulting from a magnitude 7.6 earthquake that hit the region around Tangshan, Hebei, People's Republic of China on 28 July 1976. It lasted for 23 seconds and leveled 90 percent of Tangshan’s buildings. The earthquake came during the heat of midsummer, and many stunned survivors crawled out of their ruined houses naked, covered only in dust and blood. The earthquake started fires and ignited explosives and poisonous gases in Tangshan’s factories. Water and electricity were cut off, and rail and road access to the city was destroyed.[1] It is the deadliest earthquake in China and one of the deadliest earthquakes in the world and is among the top ten deadliest natural disasters in China.

At the 3:42 a.m., an earthquake measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 magnitude on the Richter scale flattens Tangshan, a Chinese industrial city with a population of about a million people.[2] The Chinese State Seismological Bureau (SSB) Analysis and Prediction Department was very accurate with the prediction of the earthquake, with an estimate of a major earthquake in the Tangshan region between July 22 and August 5. Despite voicing concerns, the prediction was not taken seriously. A few counties that listened to the advised saved thousands of lives by evacuating to safer areas days before the earthquake occurred.[3]

Death toll[change | change source]

According to the official statement from the seismological department, 242,000 people were killed and as many as 700,000 were injured. On the other hand, other resources claimed causalities as high as 650,000.[4] More than 160,000 families were left homeless, and more than 4,000 children were orphaned.

Another reason why the death toll had increased to an extraordinary amount was because of the aftershocks that took place 16 hours after the first quake. The aftershocks were recorded to be as high as 7.1 on the Richter Scale, which not only hampered the rescue efforts but also added to the death toll. The Chinese government had not allowed foreign aid in the city, claiming that they were capable of handling the crisis on their own.[5] In the crucial first week after the crisis, many died from lack of medical care. Troops and relief workers lacked the kind of heavy rescue training necessary to efficiently pull survivors from the rubble.

References[change | change source]

  1. Huixian, Liu; Housner, George W.; Lili, Xie; Duxin, He (2002-01-01). "The Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976". resolver.caltech.edu. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
  2. Butler, Rhett; Stewart, Gordon S.; Kanamori, Hiroo (1979-02-01). "The July 27, 1976 Tangshan, China earthquake—A complex sequence of intraplate events". Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 69 (1): 207–220. Bibcode:1979BuSSA..69..207B. doi:10.1785/BSSA0690010207. ISSN 0037-1106. S2CID 140609618.
  3. Fang, Wang (1979). "The 1976 Tangshan earthquake". Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS). 11 (3): 106109.
  4. "One of the worst earthquakes in modern history destroys Chinese city". HISTORY. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
  5. Times, Andrew H. Malcolm Special to The New York (1977-06-02). "Chinese Disclose That 1976 Quake Was Deadliest in Four Centuries". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-07-08.