Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010

1976: Tangshan, China

China has the misfortune to have had the second deadliest earthquake on record, the 1976 Great Tangshan Earthquake, which struck in the country's northeast. It'd be more accurate to call this a binary quake: an aftershock that struck 16 hours after the initial temblor measured an identical 7.8 on the Richter scale and was equally destructive. Death estimates are hard to pin down — initial reports placed the toll at nearly 700,000, but those have since been revised down to some 250,000. Compounding the massive casualty count was the decision by the Chinese government to accept no international aid in the aftermath of the quakes.