On July 28, 1976, a scale 7.8 earthquake hit the sleeping city of Tangshan, in northeastern China. The very large quake, striking an area where it was totally astonishing, obliterated the city of Tangshan and killed over 240,000 people - making it the deadliest earthquake of the twentieth century.
Though systematic earthquake prediction is in its promising stages, nature often gives some advance warning of an imminent earthquake.
In a village outer of Tangshan, well water apparently rose and fell three times the day before the earthquake.
Animals also gave a caution that something was about to occur. One thousand chickens in Baiguantuan refused to eat and ran around excitedly cheeping. Mice and yellow weasels were seen running around looking for a lay to hide. In one home in the city of Tangshan, a goldfish began jumping violently in its bowl.
When the 7.8 scale earthquake struck Tangshan at 3:42 a.m. on July 28, more than a million people lay sleeping, unconscious of the disaster that was to happen them.
When the earth began to shake, a few people who were awake had the foresight to dive under a table or other heavy piece of furniture, but most were sleeping and did not have time. The whole earthquake lasted around 14 to 16 seconds.