Earthquake Risk Assessment in Tangshan City

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The targeted audience for this earthquake preparedness proposal is the Tangshan local government.


The natural hazard for which the preparedness proposal is addressing is an earthquake.


The location of the earthquake hazard is in Tangshan City, an industrial and mining city in Hebei province, Northern China. The city is located in a seismic zone with several fault lines coupled with coal extraction through blasting making it a high-risk zone for earthquakes (Zhu et al., 2010).

Earth processes

Tangshan City location is on a seismic zone which consists of several fault lines on soft rocks making them easily break thus causing earthquakes. It is also on a boundary of plate tectonics which constantly moves towards each other causing fault lines and breaking rocks leading to earthquakes (Bao et al., 2018).

Human Processes

Tangshan is a predominantly mining and industrial city with coal mining and heavy industries as the major economic activities. Coal extraction in Tangshan utilizes blasting which results to the weakening of rocks causing fault lines which cause earthquakes when the rocks break along the fault lines created (Bao et al., 2018).

Past events/Policies

In 1976 summer, an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale hit Tangshan causing massive damage to property and death of over 200,000 people (Wang et al., 2014). The mitigation and communication policy applied by the Tangshan local government was releasing predictions of imminent earthquakes. With the predictions, the locals were alerted to be on the watch out of an earthquake. The local government also intensified earthquake preparedness and rescue operations which helped to save many lives during the earthquake (Wang et al., 2014). However, specific lapses in the mitigation and communication policy and the fact that the earthquake occurred at night when most people were asleep led to a sizeable number of casualties.


To reduce casualties during earthquakes, the local government should come up with accurate scientific methods of predicting impending earthquakes. Accurate predictions can be done through data gathering and analysis (Col, 2016). Seismic activities should also be studied to understand when an earthquake is about to happen. Once predictions have been made, the local government should intensify public education and inform them on earthquake preparedness strategies. Earthquake monitoring stations should also be established to continuously monitor seismic rock activities. A detection centre should be set up where any slight earthquake can be detected. The centre should be designed to issue a warning to the locals by setting off an alarm when an earthquake is detected. The warning will enable the residents to evacuate buildings in time and move outdoor. The local government, acting on earthquake prediction data, can encourage residents to construct outdoor tents for makeshift activities during the period of a possible earthquake. Most importantly, the local authorities should have on standby rescue equipment and emergency response services. Such will be vital in saving lives when an earthquake hits thus reducing human casualties (Col, 2016). The local government should adopt mitigation and communication strategies in line with the changing conditions as the disaster risk escalates.


Col, J. M. (2016). Successful Earthquake Mitigation in Qinglong County during the Great Tangshan Earthquake: Lessons for Hurricane Katrina in the United States. Chinese Public Administration Review, 4(1/2), 9-20.

Bao, F., Li, Z., Yuen, D. A., Zhao, J., Ren, J., Tian, B., & Meng, Q. (2018). Shallow structure of the Tangshan fault zone unveiled by dense seismic array and horizontal-to-vertical spectral ratio method. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 281, 46-54.

Wang, X., Li, Y., Du, J., & Zhou, X. (2014). Correlations between radon in soil gas and the activity of seismogenic faults in the Tangshan area, North China. Radiation Measurements, 60, 8-14.

Zhu, Q., Su, Y., & Wu, D. D. (2010). Risk assessment of land-use suitability and application to Tangshan City. International Journal of Environment and Pollution, 42(4), 330-343.

October 05, 2023




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