Earthquake Research in China

Zhonghao Shou
Published in Science and Utopya 64, page 56, October 1999 (in Turkish)

China has a long history. Ancient Chinese recorded earthquakes 3,600 years ago, so it is difficult to depict what they did on earthquake research in short, but I would like to give an example that a great scholar Chang Heng invented the first earthquake recorder in the world about 132 A.D.

Earthquake research has revived in New China since 1966 when two big earthquakes, a 6.8 at 37.3N and 114.9E on March 7, and a 6.9 at 37.6N and 115.2E on March 22, struck Xingtai, Hebei Province, and killed 8,064 people [1]. Premier Zhou Enlai required both Chinese scientists and people to predict big earthquakes with both Chinese traditional and foreign methods. Chinese people have done a lot, and it is also difficult to compress all those works in short. I am writing an article for next issue of this journal. Here, I only give one example.

"At 3:42 of July 28, 1976, a violent earthquake of M. 7.8 occurred in Tangshan- Fengnan region of Hebei Province. Just before the quake, the No. 129 express train of Beijing - Dalian carrying 1,400 passengers was running toward Guye station near Tangshan, at 3:41 of the morning, the locomotive driver suddenly saw three belts of glittering flashes appearing in the night sky, the driver thought this must be the precursor of an imminent earthquake, so he in no time pulled down the emergency brake. Immediately after that, the strong quake struck. ... All passengers and the train survived the heavy disaster."

The two drivers of the train are Zhang Yaown and Liu Zhenbang [2].


  1. Li, H. China's campaign to predict quakes. Science 273, 1484-1486 (1996).
  2. Tang, X. Anomalous meteorology. A General History of Earthquake Study in China, 49-84 (Science Press, Beijing, 1988, in English).

Home | Introduction | Publication & News | Predictions | New Predictions | Essays | Links | Contact

Sign Our GuestbookGuestbookView Our Guestbook

Updated: September 28, 2002 | Webmaster