Model could explain high death toll of 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake


  • Colin Schultz


On 12 May 2008 the Wenchuan earthquake, a magnitude 7.9 event, killed nearly 70,000 people and displaced millions in western China. Drawing on the observations of the National Strong-Motion Observation Network System (NSMONS), a network of 460 seismic detectors distributed throughout China, Zhang et al. calculated the details of the fault rupture process. The majority of previous research on the earthquake relied on remotely sensed or teleseismic observations. The NSMONS data used by the authors, on the other hand, were drawn from 26 strong-motion sensors that were located within 20 to 120 kilometers of the ruptured fault.