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Earthquake Near Chengdu, China
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
The magnitude 7.9 earthquake that struck China on May 12, 2008, caused extensive damage in the mountainous terrain of Beichuan County. In many cases, landslides in steep valleys formed earthen dams, creating new lakes overnight. This pair of high-resolution, photo-like images from Taiwan’s Formosat-2 satellite on May 14, 2006 (top),and May 14, 2008 (bottom) shows several landslides, a collapsed bridge, and a bridge submerged by a newly formed lake.
On May 12, 2008, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.9 struck China's Sichuan Province. Aftershocks, some of them larger than magnitude 6.0, continued in the weeks after the quake. Large lakes formed behind landslide-created dams.