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When was the earliest earthquake in China?


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#16 Guest_Tyler_*

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 11:44 PM

Does anyone know if earthquakes have been recorded during the time of the Han? I heard not only did they suffer from corruption they suffered from natural disasters.

#17 thirdgumi

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 05:48 AM

I'm having class about Chinese archeology and I there were records of disasters on the tutle shells from Shang dyansty., although I don't know what kind of disaster they were.
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#18 shunyadragon

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 04:10 AM

Does anyone know if earthquakes have been recorded during the time of the Han? I heard not only did they suffer from corruption they suffered from natural disasters.


Archeological excavations have revealed evidence of ancient earthquakes. The recent discovery of 4,000 year old noodles in a turned over bowl is supposedly at the site of an ancient earthquake.
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#19 xu huang

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 07:15 AM

It was quite bad in Gansu too. According to a map I have in the Atlas of Chinese Physical Geography, the major quake zones in north China are along the Gansu Corridor, the Shanxi plateau, the Xi'an (Chang'an) area, the Beijing area, the western and northern edges of the north China plain, and a long strip running from Shenyang in the northeast down south through western Shandong to Nanjing.

Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet and Xinjiang also have large strips of quake activity. South China is relatively quake-free, except for the Fujian coast and Taiwan.


Read from the list, realised that the earliest recorded quake in Fujian was in 1346. I think there could be quakes there before that, just that Fujian was not included in the earlier empires, and therefore wasn't recorded.
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#20 shunyadragon

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Posted 20 November 2005 - 09:36 AM

It was quite bad in Gansu too. According to a map I have in the Atlas of Chinese Physical Geography, the major quake zones in north China are along the Gansu Corridor, the Shanxi plateau, the Xi'an (Chang'an) area, the Beijing area, the western and northern edges of the north China plain, and a long strip running from Shenyang in the northeast down south through western Shandong to Nanjing.

Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet and Xinjiang also have large strips of quake activity. South China is relatively quake-free, except for the Fujian coast and Taiwan.


One interesting note about Shenyang is that it is earthquake free and it lies between to distinct active faults running from the northeast to the south west. Bohai exists because this central region is subsiding. Some of the most devastating earthquakes in Chines history occured along these two fault lines in Jilin, Hubei and Shandong, like the Tangshan earthquake in 1976. Supposedly Shenyang was selected for the capital city for this reason during the early Qing Dynasty.

Taiwan is one of the most active earthquake regions of China.
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#21 peshawar6

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 05:20 PM

Yun, can you please help out here.

Do you have a list of recorded earthquakes in the Shang and Zhou dynasties?

thanks



OK Gweilo, here goes. The list is still far from complete (i've had to compile it from different sections of the book), but it'll give a good idea of how frequent earthquakes were.

278 - Quake causes flooding of the Yangzi River.

286 - Quake in Jianwei 犍为 prefecture, Sichuan.

294 - Hebei (Beijing area) and Hubei (Shangyong area).

300 - Jilin in the northeast. Accompanied by drought, leads to cannibalism.

309 - Quake in Jingzhou 荆州 province, Hubei. Quake in Dangyang 当阳, Hubei.

314 - Shanxi.

315-316 - Pingyang 平阳 in Shanxi.

319 - Quake in Qishan 祁山, Gansu.

320 - Quake in Jiangxi and Hubei areas.

345 - Quake in Qinzhou 秦州 province, Gansu, and in Sichuan.

362-366 - Quakes in Liangzhou 凉州 province, Gansu.

363 - Yangzhou in Jiangsu, causes flooding of lake.

366 - Quake in Qinzhou and Yongzhou 雍州 provinces, Gansu.

374 - Quake in Liangzhou.

392 - Quake in Nanjing, followed by tidal waves that cause many deaths along the Jiangsu coast.

404 - Shandong, and Yuanchuan 苑川 in Gansu.

406 - Yuanchuan again.

408 - Shandong.

412 - Zhejiang.

416 - Quakes in Qinzhou.

419 - Quake in the capital (Nanjing).

436 - Quake in Nanjing.

462 - Quake in Yanzhou 兖州 province, Shandong.

474 - Shanxi.

478 - Bingzhou 并州, Shanxi and Qinzhou, Gansu.

481-483 - Quakes in Qinzhou.

486 - Bingzhou.

495 - Guangzhou 光州 in Shandong.

506 - Nanjing, Liangzhou.

508 - Shandong.

511 - Hengzhou 恒州 and Dingzhou 定州 in Hebei.

512 - Major quake in Shanxi, Hebei, and Henan (including Luoyang). 5,310 killed, 2,722 injured, more than 3,000 livestock killed. Quake in Qinzhou.

513 - Jizhou 济州, Shandong.

521 - Qinzhou.

536 - Nanjing.

548 - Jiangsu.

574 - Liangzhou.

624 - Sichuan.

734 - Qinzhou. Several thousands of homes destroyed, more than a hundred people killed. Crack opens in the ground, then seals itself.

777 - Hengzhou 恒州 and Dingzhou 定州 in Hebei, lasts three days.

787 - Shaanxi, including Chang'an.

788 - Chang'an, Hubei and Henan.

793 - Shaanxi, including Chang'an. City walls and houses destroyed.

814 - 8-10 day quake in Sichuan, more than a hundred killed.

842 - Qinghai and Gansu. The Tao river 洮水 flows backwards for three days.

866 - Shanxi.

876 - Xiongzhou 雄州, Hebei. City badly damaged, many killed.

879 - Quake in Chang'an.

895 - Shanxi.

928 - Shanxi.

939-940 - Sichuan.

952 - Sichuan.

962 - Zhejiang.

1011 - Sichuan and Hebei.

1022 - Shanxi.

1038 - Shanxi. More than 200 dead and 5,000 injured in Xinzhou 忻州 alone. 2,000 injured in Bingzhou and 700 in Daizhou 代州.

1044 - Xinzhou.

1046 - Dengzhou 登州 in Shandong. Mount Juyu collapses into the sea, and aftershocks continue for more than fifty years.

1050 - Xiuzhou 秀州 in Zhejiang.

1067 - Quake in Zhangzhou 漳州, Fujian. A dog walks out of the crack and trees are seen at its bottom (!)

1068 - Mozhou 莫州, Shandong, and Kaifeng 开封, Henan. Quake in Hebei causes flooding of the Yellow River.

1072 - Mount Shaohua 少华山 in Shaanxi.

1087 - Daizhou, Shanxi.

1100 - Anhui.

1122 - Xiongzhou, Hebei.

1124 - Henan and Gansu.

1125 - Gansu. Several hundred homes fall into the cracks.

1126 - Shanxi.

1133 - Zhejiang.

1135 - Hangzhou, Zhejiang.

1136 - Zhejiang.

1143 - Xiazhou 夏州 in Ningxia, several thousand homes destroyed.

1165 - Beijing.

1169 - Sichuan.

1180 - Beijing.

1209 - Pinyang, Shanxi.

1213 - Quake in Chun'an 淳安 county in Zhejiang.

1216 - Major quakes in Sichuan with landslides.

1222 - Hangzhou.

1240-1241 - Hangzhou.

1270 - Shandong, followed by tidal waves.

1288 - Zhejiang.

1290 - Serious quake in Beijing.

1303 - Shanxi. Huge destruction and "countless dead". Cracks in the ground look like canals.

1304 - Shanxi. Causes flooding.

1305 - Shanxi. Black water rushes out of the ground.

1311 - Ganzhou 甘州, Gansu.

1324 - Zhejiang, followed by tidal waves.

1327 - Simultaneous quakes in Shanxi, Shaanxi, Sichuan (Chengdu), Hubei. Tidal waves, typhoon and earthquake in Wenzhou, Zhejiang.

1332 - Quake in Beijing.

1334 - Quake in Beijing.

1336 - Quakes in Hubei and Anhui.

1341 - Quake in Shanxi.

1342 - Shanxi. Many houses destroyed, followed by drought and cannibalism.

1344 - Tidal waves, typhoon and earthquake in Wenzhou, Zhejiang (again).

1346 - Shaowu 邵武, Fujian.

1347 - Shandong.

1351 - Shanxi and Henan. Many deaths.

1352 - Gansu. Mountains shifted and valleys flooded, houses and people disappeared into the cracks.

1358 - Shandong.

1366 - Quakes in Gong 巩 county in Henan and Haizhou 海州 prefecture in Jiangsu. Quake with fatalities in Xinzhou 忻州, Shanxi - black water rushes from ground.

1367 - Shandong.

1372 - Guangzhou 广州 in Guangdong and Taiyuan 太原 in Shanxi.



#22 fcharton

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 03:37 PM

Five earthquakes are recorded in the Spring and Autumn Annals, in the ninth year of duke Wen (618 BC, August 30th, I think), in the 16th year of Duke Xiang (557 BC, April 2nd), in the 19th year of duke Zhao (523 BC, April 19th), and again in his 23rd (619, August 12th), and in the third year of duke Ai (492 BC, March 22nd).

It is difficult to know if all earthquakes were recorded (for instance, it is pretty certain that not all eclipses were), but these are not specially ominous: they don't happen on the last years of reigns, or before some catastrophe occurs.

As with most natural phenomena, the records are very terse : on that month and day, there was an earthquake. More interestingly none of those is commented in the Zuo Zhuan (which has many passages on portents and their interpretations).

The Zuo Zhuan has one record which might be an earthquake. Two days after the 619 BC earthquake in Lu, a prince of Zhou was killed. The sentence is not clear, but most commentators, after Du Yu, consider it means his house was ruined by an earthquake (which could be an aftershock of the one experienced in Lu, or the same, and the later date might be because the prince died a few days later). There is one brief dialogue after it, which glosses on two earlier (and portentous) earthquakes, (in particular the one at the end of the reign of King You, which Wang Yun mentioned), and concludes that great things are about to happen.

But, this is the only case I could find in the Zuozhuan where an earthquake is recorded and interpreted. So, I would say that earthquakes, as major natural phenomena, got mentioned in the annals, but nothing suggests that they were interpreted as portents. Maybe it is something specific to Lu, and the Zuozhuan, or maybe it is because this pratice of interpreting natural catastrophes as signs developped later (eg in the Warring States, or in the Imperial era).

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#23 SampanViking

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Posted 04 July 2007 - 08:35 AM

Hello Yun

I think your 23rd Century BC disaster account sounds rather more like a Volcanic eruption (which are often accompanied by Earthquakes for obvious reasons).

I have heard about the Chinese seismograph, it was device which balanced balls at the top of flutes (chutes) in a tall circular instrument. When the earth shock, the balls were unbalanced and dropped.

This device could not also warn of impending earthquakes in the locality, but also gave warnings to officials of distant areas which had been hit. A skilled reader of the machine could apparently gain much information about, where and how bad an earthquake had been from the way that the balls dropped and assistance dispatched to right places with minimum delay.

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