Shaanxi Earthquake

The province of Shaanxi in northwestern China has the unenviable record of being the site of the world’s most deadly recorded earthquake. It happened in the winter of 1555-1556 during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, and is therefore often referred to as the Jiajing earthquake. Measuring an estimated 8.0 on …

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Vesuvius and the Destruction of Pompeii

The ancient Romans were a superstitious people, forever looking for portents in natural events. They failed utterly, however, to predict the cataclysm which engulfed the fertile and heavily populated Campanian countryside south of Naples in AD 79. Had they possessed a modern scientist’s understanding of the earth’s behaviour they might have seen the link with …

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