The Shaanxi/Senshi disaster resulted in over 830,000 deaths

23 January 2017: 461 years ago today, the world’s worst earthquake to date took place in China, killing over 830,000 people.

The 1556 earthquake took place in Shaanxi province, formerly known as Senshi. In today’s map, the disaster would have taken place 50 miles northeast of Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi.

More than 830,000 people lost their lives on that fateful day to the magnitude 8 earthquake, with damages extending up to 270 miles northeast of the epicenter. Reports as far as Liyang, Hunan, which is more than 500 miles away, were recorded.

The effects of the gargantuan earthquake include a number of geological effects such as ground fissures, uplift, subsidence, liquefaction and landslides.

City walls collapsed and most of the houses in many of the towns affected collapsed too, resulting in water gushing out.

The Senshi earthquake ranks as the world’s worth earthquake with a death toll of 600,000 higher than its nearest competitor; an earthquake in 1138 that occurred in Aleppo, Syria killed 230,000.

However, despite its colossal death toll, the Senshi earthquake was not the worst disaster to hit China. In 1887, a flood caused by the Yellow River breaking its levee killed more than a million people.