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The Shaanxi Earthquake of 1556 Options
Daemon
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The Shaanxi Earthquake of 1556

The deadliest earthquake on record and the fifth deadliest natural disaster in history, the Shaanxi earthquake of 1556 killed approximately 830,000 people in inner China. The quake destroyed an area spanning 520 miles, and aftershocks continued to rock the region several times a month for half a year. Contributing to the high death toll on the Loess Plateau was the fact that millions of people lived in artificial caves that were destroyed by landslides. What was the earthquake's magnitude? More...
raghd muhi al-deen
Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2017 8:35:08 AM

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1556 shaanxi earthquake
1556 Shaanxi earthquake
Shaanxi earthquake in 1556

Map of China showing modern-day Shaanxi province (red) and the other provinces affected by the earthquake (orange).
1556 Shaanxi earthquake is located in China
Date 23 January 1556[1]
Magnitude 8.0 M
Depth Unknown
Epicenter Shaanxi
Countries or regions Ming Dynasty
Casualties 820,000 – 830,000 (est.)[1] Deadliest earthquake of all time

The 1556 Shaanxi earthquake (Chinese: 华县大地震; pinyin: Huàxiàn Dàdìzhèn) or Jiajing earthquake (Chinese: 嘉靖大地震; pinyin: Jiājìng Dàdìzhèn) was a catastrophic earthquake and is also the deadliest earthquake on record, killing approximately 830,000 people.[1] It occurred on the morning of 23 January 1556 in Shaanxi, during the Ming Dynasty. More than 97 counties in the provinces of Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Gansu, Hebei, Shandong, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Anhui were affected.[2] An 840-kilometre-wide (520 mi) area was destroyed,[3] and in some counties 60% of the population was killed.[4] Most of the population in the area at the time lived in yaodongs, artificial caves in loess cliffs, many of which collapsed with catastrophic loss of life.
Geography

The Shaanxi earthquake's epicenter was in the Wei River Valley in Shaanxi Province, near the cities of Huaxian, Weinan and Huayin. In Huaxian, every single building and home was demolished, killing more than half the residents of the city, with a death toll estimated in the hundreds of thousands. The situation in Weinan and Huayin was similar. In certain areas, 20-metre (66 ft) deep crevices opened in the earth. Destruction and death were everywhere, affecting places as far as 500 kilometres (310 mi) from the epicenter. The earthquake also triggered landslides, which contributed to the massive death toll.[5] The rupture occurred during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Therefore, in Chinese historical record, this earthquake is often referred to as the Jiajing Great Earthquake.

Modern estimates, based on geological data, give the earthquake a magnitude of approximately 8 on the moment magnitude scale or XI on the Mercalli scale, though more recent discoveries have shown that it was 7.9.[1] While it was the deadliest earthquake and the fourth deadliest natural disaster in history, there have been earthquakes with considerably higher magnitudes. Following the earthquake, aftershocks continued several times a month for half a year.[6]

In the annals of China it was described in this manner:

In the winter of 1556, an earthquake catastrophe occurred in the Shaanxi and Shanxi Provinces. In our Hua County, various misfortunes took place. Mountains and rivers changed places and roads were destroyed. In some places, the ground suddenly rose up and formed new hills, or it sank abruptly and became new valleys. In other areas, a stream burst out in an instant, or the ground broke and new gullies appeared. Huts, official houses, temples and city walls collapsed all of a sudden.[7]

The earthquake damaged many of the Forest of Stone steles badly. Of the 114 Kaicheng Stone Classics, 40 were broken in the earthquake.[8]

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