Historic Earthquakes

Tangshan, China
1976 July 27 UTC (local time July 28)
Magnitude 7.5

1976 Tangshan earthquake
The 1976 Tangshan earthquake caused liquefaction and bending of the rails on the Beijing-Shanhaiguan railway that passes through Tangshan. Photograph by China Features Agency, Beijing.

This earthquake occurred in the northeastern part of China, near the coast. The epicenter was centered about 140 kilometers southeast of Beijing, in the vicinity of Tangshan. The first earthquake, magnitude 7.5, was followed by a major aftershock 15 hours later. According to official sources, the two earthquakes killed 242,769 people, although some estimates of the death toll are as high as 655,000. Over 799,000 people were injured. Aftershocks in the 5.0-5.5 range continued after the main shock. Damage extended as far as Beijing.