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Introduction to the Special Issue on the 2008 Wenchuan, China, Earthquake

Abstract : The Mw 7.9 Wenchuan earthquake occurred on 12 May 2008 at 14:28 China standard time (06:28 UTC) in the middle of the day. People were caught by surprise because this region, along the edge of the Tibetan plateau, was not listed as a place with a high seismic hazard. Destruction was huge. More than four million inhabitants were left homeless. Casualties numbered more than 80,000 people, and there were major economic losses. This event was one of the deadliest earthquakes in China during the last few centuries, after the Haiyuan earthquake in 1920 and the Tangshan earthquake in 1976, which claimed 200,000 and 250,000 lives, respectively. The Wenchuan earthquake occurred a few months before the beginning of the 2008 Olympic games, held in Beijing, China, and the emergency response from the government of the Republic of China was massive. In part, for efficiency during this tremendous rescue effort, scientists had difficulty gaining access to the field for the first several months. Such difficulties have partly hampered deployment of temporary networks of survey equipment, such as GPS or seismic stations by international teams, as is often the case after a major earthquake
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Yann Klinger, C. Ji, Z.-K. Shen, W. Bakun. Introduction to the Special Issue on the 2008 Wenchuan, China, Earthquake. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, Seismological Society of America, 2010, ⟨10.1785/0120100172⟩. ⟨insu-01302827⟩

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