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Tangshan Earthquake (1976)

  • By: Cher N. Peterson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

On July 28, 1976, at 3:42 A.M., a destructive 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the densely populated city of Tangshan. The nearby cities of Tianjin and Beijing were affected with partial destruction occurring in Tianjin and minor damage in Beijing. The official death toll stands at 242,000. Over 500,000 were injured, with over 7,000 households completely destroyed. Although there were no obvious precursory events, a midterm prediction of an imminent earthquake had been issued by scientists.

An important industrial city, home to one million people, Tangshan is situated in the Hebei province of China and located 93 miles east of Beijing. Since 1485, 22 earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 or above have occurred in the region. In the 10 years prior to the 1976 quake, earthquake activity began to ...

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