The Lessons of Qinglong County

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Science  13 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5281, pp. 1485
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5281.1485


Days before a magnitude 7.8 quake leveled the neighboring big city of Tangshan in northeastern China, Qinglong County officials decided to act on anomalous data collected by the State Seismological Bureau that pointed to a major earthquake in the region during the latter half of July 1976. The initiative—no official prediction was issued—paid off handsomely when the earthquake struck at 3:42 a.m. on 28 July. Only one person from Qinglong County died in the quake, while more than 240,000 people were killed in Tangshan and the surrounding area.