Haiyuan Earthquake

December 16, 1920

Haiyuan, Ningxia (Ning-hsia), China


It was a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that caused total destruction in the Lijunbu-Haiyuan-Ganyanchi area. Over 240,000 people were killed in total. A landslide buried the entire village of Sujiahe in Xiji County. Almost every house was destroyed some cities. It was felt from the Yellow Sea to Qinghai (Tsinghai) Province and from Nei Mongol (Inner Mongolia) south to central Sichuan (Szechwan) Province. About 125 miles of surface faulting was seen from Lijunbu through Ganyanchi to Jingtai. There was a large number of landslides and ground cracks throughout the epicentral area. It was so strong that it caused some rivers to change course. The earthquake affected lakes as far away as Norway.

Interesting Facts

  • It was the largest earthquake recorded in China during the 20th Century it had the highest magnitude and intensity of all the other earthquakes it that area
  • It is also called the 1920 Gansu earthquake because the city that was the epicenter was in the Gansu province
  • It was the 1st earthquake to hit that area in over 300 years
  • Guinness World Record has this earthquake listed as the 8th deadliest quake in history with the catastrophic landslides 1st on the same list
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Weather History: 1920 Haiyuan Earthquake