| 1556 Shaanxi Earthquake


The 1558 Shaanxi Earthquake is known to have caused up to 830.000 fatalities includin direct (shaking) and indirect (famine, disease) effects. Due to the historic records of extensive damange and losses, the magnitude was frequently estimated around 8.3. However, recent investigations on stratigraphy and fault characteristics indicate a either a generally smaller magnitude of as small as 7.5 due to the limited size of the relevant fault or a rupture spanning at least 2 different faults with a combined magnitude of up to 8.0.

Nonetheless, it is one of the most destructive historic earthquakes, which occurred in a densely populated region causing major landslides and surface scarps of ~8.

Events in the same region
Date Title Region Preferred Magnitude Quality*
1303 Sep 25th 1303 Hongdong Earthquake Shaanxi 7.5 C
1556 1556 Shaanxi Earthquake Shaanxi 8 C
1695 May 18th 1695 Shaanxi Earthquake Shaanxi 7.8 C
  • Feng et al. (2020) -Feng, X., Ma, J., Zhou, Y., England, P., Parsons, B., Rizza, M. A., & Walker, R. T. (2020). Geomorphology and Paleoseismology of the Weinan fault, Shaanxi, central China, and the source of the 1556 Huaxian earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125(12), e2019JB017848. - Link
  • GHEA (GHEC v1.0) -Albini P., Musson R.M.W., Rovida A., Locati M., Gomez Capera A.A., and Viganò D. (2014). The Global Earthquake History. Earthquake Spectra, May 2014, Vol.30, No.2, pp. 607-624. http://doi.org/10.1193/122013EQS297 - Link
Event Characteristics
Preferred Magnitude 8.00 (7.50-8.30)
Epicenter 34.500°N, 109.700°E
Depth unknown
Tsunami no/unknown
Paleo-Event no
Quality of Evidence C

Magnitude Range
Year Reference Magnitude
2020 Feng et al. (2020) 8 (7.5-8)
2014 GHEA (GHEC v1.0) 8.3 (8-8.3)

This table lists some of the most relevant publications in estimating the moment magnitude of this earthquake. If you think there are other important or new publications, please get in contact.