Scientists fear that the Xianshuihe, Kunlun, and Min Jiang faults, strike-slip cracks comparable to San Andreas, might cause turbulence in the years to come. The 1556 earthquake in Hausien, in the Shaanxi Province of China, which killed almost 1 million people, was one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. Since 1920, approximately 15 strong tremors, most of which measured magnitude 7 or higher, have shaken the region.
In 2008, a rupture underneath the Longmen Shan mountain range in Sichuan province caused the devastating 7.8-magnitude quake that killed around 70,000 and put additional stress on three other major fault lines in China (pictured above). Scientists estimate that there is a 57 to 71 percent chance that another large quake will strike China in the next decade.
Image: Geophysical Research Letters