The Deadliest Earthquake of all times
The Deadliest Earthquake – 1556 Jiajing Great Earthquake
Jiajing Great Earthquake as it is referred to in Chinese Historical Record is the deadliest earthquake of all times. Imagine a total of 830,000 people who lost their lives because of this. Although there may have been other earthquake with higher magnitude, Jiajing Great Earthquake is still regarded as the deadliest earthquake and the fifth deadliest disaster in history.
Jiajing the Earthquake, Jiajing the Emperor
It is often called the Jiajing Great Earthquake because it occurred during the reign of the ruthless ruler, Emperor Jiajing of Ming Dynasty. It is also referred as Shaanxi Earthquake because its epicenter was near Mount Hua in Shaanxi. It happened in the morning of January 23, 1556. It has a magnitude of 8 and an estimated intensity of XI. The earthquake was responsible for destroying 98 counties and eight provinces in Central China, but mostly in the Province of Shaanxi. The destruction extended over an area of 500 miles. In some of the counties, the average death toll was estimated to be about 60 percent of the population.
Chinese Historical Records
The Chinese Annals shows the following records pertaining to this earthquake:
''In the winter of 1556 AD, 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 in 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.''
Qin Keda a scholar and survivor of this earthquake recorded details of it. He concluded that people who are inside the house should not go out immediately for it could be more dangerous outside. They should just crouch down and wait for chances. He even says that “Even if the nest is collapsed, some eggs in it may still be kept intact." This figurative statement may mean that many people were killed because they are trying to escape while some who just stayed inside may have survived
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