The earthquake that jolted Wenchuan County in southwestern Sichuan Province on Monday is comparable to the 1976 Tangshan earthquake both in scale and power, says a Chinese seismologist here on Wednesday.
Unlike the Tangshan earthquake, the quake in Wenchuan has resulted in massive geological disasters as it occurs in a mountainous area, according to Zhang Guomin, a research fellow with Institute of Earthquake Science under China Earthquake Administration.
But the Tangshan earthquake has caused more casualties as it took place in the night and the epicenter is directly beneath big cities, he said.
A strong quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County in northwest part of Sichuan at 2:28 PM on Monday. It has claimed 14,866 lives as of 2:00 PM Wednesday.
The Tangshan earthquake in the northern Hebei Province in 1976, with the same magnitude, occurred at 3:42 a.m. on July 28, 1976. The earthquake, the deadliest in the twentieth century, obliterated the city of Tangshan and claimed 242,000 lives.
(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2008)