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Haiyuan Earthquake (1920)

  • By: Bill Kte'pi
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

The 1920 Haiyuan earthquake, usually referred to as the Kansu earthquake by contemporary Western sources, was one of the greatest earthquakes on record, and the fifth deadliest. It struck on December 16, 1920, with an epicenter in Haiyuan County, in what is now Ningxia Province (which was then part of the province of Kansu), in China. Estimates of the magnitude range from about 7.8 to 8.5 on the Richter scale; the larger number is used by today's Chinese sources. The aftershocks lasted for three years.

In Haiyuan County alone, 73,000 people were killed. Destruction of the maximum intensity (XII on the Mercalli scale) was felt in the Lijunbu-Haiyuan-Ganyanchi area. Another 30,000 were killed in nearby Guyuan County, with major damage and casualties in seven provinces and ...

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