- ?Lv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
2008 was China's most damaging earthquake since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake disaster. Sichuan, a province in western China, has been historically known as the "Land of Abundance" (Tian Fu Zhi Guo), as it is one of the major agricultural production bases of China.
The most immediate concerns after such a disaster are human casualties, injury, and property destruction. However, earthquakes and other natural disasters wreak substantial environmental damage, with consequences for human health and economy as well as biodiversity and resource availability. In China, the environmental destruction is just beginning to be estimated, though some impacts, such as ecosystem degradation and agricultural disturbance, may not be observed for months or years. In addition, rebuilding thousands of homes in a fragile region presents its own challenge to resource management and land protection.
The earthquake occurred as the result of motion on a northeast striking reverse fault or thrust fault on the northwestern margin of the Sichuan Basin. The earthquake's epicenter and focal-mechanism are consistent with it having occurred as the result of movement on the Longmenshan fault or a tectonically related fault. The earthquake reflects tectonic stresses resulting from the convergence of crustal material slowly moving from the high Tibetan Plateau, to the west, against strong crust underlying the Sichuan Basin and southeastern China."
Though the epicenter of the earthquake in Wenchuan was in a mountainous area, approximately 603,000 people lived in the region most violently affected by the earthquake. In this area the shaking was estimated as Modified Mercalli Intensity X: Disastrous, meaning that most masonry and frame structures were destroyed with their foundations. The complex topography of the region adds to the difficulties of rescue and reconstruction.