1626 Lingqiu earthquake

The 1626 Lingqiu earthquake had an epicentre in Lingqiu County, Shanxi Province during the Ming dynasty. The estimated surface wave magnitude (Ms ) 7.0 earthquake caused many buildings to collapse. Over 5,200 people were killed.

1626 Lingqiu earthquake
1626 Lingqiu earthquake is located in China
1626 Lingqiu earthquake
Local dateJune 28, 1626 (1626-06-28)
MagnitudeMs 7.0[1]
Epicenter39°24′N 114°12′E / 39.4°N 114.2°E / 39.4; 114.2Coordinates: 39°24′N 114°12′E / 39.4°N 114.2°E / 39.4; 114.2 [2]
Areas affectedQing dynasty
Max. intensityCSIS IX
Casualties>5,200 dead
Map of the Shanxi Rift System along the eastern margin of the Ordos Block

Tectonic settingEdit

The Shanxi Rift System is a seismically active intra-continental rift zone in North China. Since 231 BC, eight Ms  7.0 earthquakes have occurred along the rift system. The 1303 Hongdong, 1556 Shanxi, and 1695 Linfen earthquakes were the deadliest associated with the rift, with death tolls of 50,000 to 830,000 respectively.[3]

Bounded to the west by the Lüliang Mountains, and the east by the Taihang Mountains, the Shanxi Rift forms the eastern boundary of the Ordos Block; a fragment of continental crust within the Eurasian Plate. Within the rift features half-grabens. It formed when extension began in the Miocene or Pliocene, separating the crust into the Ordos Block from the North China Craton. The reason for extension in this part of China is still debated although the most agreed hypothesis is crustal deformation resulting from the India-Asia collision involving the Indian and Eurasian plates along the Main Himalayan Thrust in the Himalayas, causing the rotation of crustal blocks in China. Other hypotheses are slab rollback of the Pacific Plate as it subducts along the east coast of Japan, or localised intraplate tectonics.[4]

Dip-slip and strike-slip earthquakes in North China are consistent with ongoing crustal extension along the Shanxi Rift System. The rift extends for 1,200 km, and is up to 60 km wide. The graben is bounded by normal faults on both sides capable of generating earthquakes. Extension along the rift zone occur at a slow rate of 0.8 ± 0.3 mm/year, therefore earthquakes occur with long intervals of recurrence. The estimated magnitudes of earthquakes by Chinese researchers previously have possible inaccuracies as they are based on written descriptions and death toll from the earthquakes.[5]


The earthquake rupture involved two conjugated faults; the Shuijian–Luoshuihe Fault, and the Huashanhe Fault. The Shuijian–Luoshuihe Fault is located west of Lingqiu County, where is strikes in a north-northeast direction. A one-meter-high fault scarp is visible on the surface, corresponding to the 1626 earthquake. Both faults have shallow dipping angles in the east and west direction, and have a normal slip sense.[6] It has an estimated magnitude of Ms  7.0 and China seismic intensity scale rating of IX (Destructive).[7]

In another study, the earthquake is proposed to have occurred in the Fenwei Graben System along a strike-slip fault. The rupture is estimated at 134.13 km by 26 km, with an epicentre located at 39°24′N 114°12′E / 39.4°N 114.2°E / 39.4; 114.2, and a hypocentre depth of 7.5 km beneath the surface.[8]


At Lingqiu, many homes belonging to officials and civillains were destroyed. Liquefaction events occurred; black water erupted from dry wells. More than 5,200 people died in the county. About 80–90% of government offices, homes, and warehouses collapsed in Hunyuan County. Much of the city walls fell. Additional buildings and structures were left in ruins at Yuxian, and Laiyuan. It was felt in the provinces of Shandong, Hebei, and Henan. The shaking was also felt in Beijing.[2][9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Shen Xuhui; Wangyi Peng (1995). "1626年灵丘地震烈度分布特征与阻震构造初步讨论" [Preliminary Discussion on Intensity Distribution Characteristics and Seismic Resistance Structure of Lingqiu Earthquake in 1626] (PDF). North China Earthquake Science. 13 (1).
  2. ^ a b National Geophysical Data Center. "Significant Earthquake Information". Retrieved 2 December 2021.
  3. ^ Bin Li; Mathilde Bøttger Sørensen; Kuvvet Atakan (2015). "Coulomb stress evolution in the Shanxi rift system, North China, since 1303 associated with coseismic, post-seismic and interseismic deformation". Geophysical Journal International. 203 (3): 1642–1664. doi:10.1093/gji/ggv384. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  4. ^ Bin Li; Kuvvet Atakan; Mathilde Bøttger Sørensen; Jens Havskov (2015). "Stress pattern of the Shanxi rift system, North China, inferred from the inversion of new focal mechanisms". Geophysical Journal International. 201 (2): 505–527. doi:10.1093/gji/ggv025.
  5. ^ Yueren Xu; Honglin He; Qidong Deng; Mark B. Allen; Haoyue Sun; Lisi Bi (2018). "The CE 1303 Hongdong earthquake and the Huoshan Piedmont Fault, Shanxi Graben: Implications for magnitude limits of normal fault earthquakes" (PDF). Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. 123 (4): 3098–3121. doi:10.1002/2017JB014928. S2CID 135046043.
  6. ^ Ma Xingquan; Li Yanbao; Ran Yongkang; Chen Lichun (2013). "灵丘盆地主要活动断裂和1626灵丘地震发震构造" [Major active faults in Lingqiu Basin and the seismogenic structure of the earthquake in 1626] (in Chinese). doi:10.3969/j.issn.0253-4967.2013.02.002. Retrieved 2 December 2021. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Jianming Yu (2017). "Seismic Risk Assessments for Border Area of Shanxi, Hebei and Inner Mongolia, China" (PDF). International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research. 6 (3).
  8. ^ Li Chang Long; Wu Jian; Gao Meng Tan (2018). "Study on interaction between major earthquakes around Ordos Block". Chinese Journal of Geophysics. 61 (12): 4862–4872. doi:10.6038/cjg2018L0041.
  9. ^ Wang Yue (ed.). "山西灵丘地震" [Shanxi Lingqiu Earthquake]. kepu.net.cn. 中国科普博览. Retrieved 2 December 2021.