Earthquake near Beijing

Yesterday, at 11:56am local time, the earth moved for us. Here at Sun, our building did a little sway in response to a small earthquake some distance away. For me, sitting next to a window, I could see the building move against the view of the ground outside.

So how big was it? The USGS web site has in its report that it measured 4.9 on the reichter scale. In the ChinaDaily newspaper, the story today mentions 5.1. The USGS website also says 90km south of Beijing, the newspaper 120km. After reading a story yesterday about unauthorised reporting of current affairs in China leading to fines because of accuracy concerns. If a common paper such as the ChinaDaily can't get its facts straight (and I'm inclined to believe USGS over ChinaDaily), what hope does this law have of achieving accurate information being disseminated?


Hei, this is not a scientific attitude! If you want to blame the political system, go ahead and attack it directly. Should the media want to "manipulate" the information, there is no reason to report a "bigger" earthquake! You trust USGS rather than Chinese scientific observation? So you are saying the technology in US is so advance that they can detect an earthquake more acurately half the globe away than a Chinese counter part does in the local area? Come on, do not be so self confident or arrogant!

Posted by Fu on July 05, 2006 at 12:18 AM PDT #

Actually, yes I do trust the US machinery more than that in China. Why?

I have bought many computer accessories that are "made in China" that simply DO NOT WORK out of the box. It might be cheap, but the quality is completely absent. The same goes with biscuits. I've bought Chinese copies of Danish biscuits that were greater in number (and cheaper) but the packing and everything was completely rubbish. So to me, there is an emerging trend of if I want something of quality then I do not want it "made in China" or to come from China - so if there is a choice between news on a topic from China or elsewhere in the world (even if it concerns China) then I will believe what comes from somewhere else before what comes from China.

So I trust the US website more than China? Yes. There is a \*LOT\* of money in the US that is dependent on getting very accurate information about earthquakes, much more so than China.

Is there a Chinese equivalent of the USGS web site? I doubt it. How does anyone know where the Chinese newspaper (or its official) got their information? Is it published anywhere public? Is it open to review? Will they even tell you how they got the number "5.1" or determined the location? Doubtful.

The USGS website (if you have a look) reports earthquakes all over the globe - US, China, Africa, Australia - everywhere. I'm sure they have very reliable means for finding out where an earthquake is and how big it is/was. And if you asked them how they got the information, they would probably tell you, maybe in more detail than you'd understand. Maybe they get some of their information from instruments in China?

Remember the tsunami in the Indian ocean that came from an underwater earthquake? It was said that the earth rang like a bell for months afterward. Do you understand how that is possible, even when the Americans are so far from the Indian ocean? Your ignorance of sesmic science appears to be greater than any arrogance I might have in assuming Americans can measure an earthquake. The Americans built machinery to inform them of nuclear tests being conducted underground through sesmic vibrations - measuring an earthquake is going to be no trouble at all.

So yes, the US technology is quite advanced. Go do some reading on earthquakes and educate yourself.

Posted by Darren on July 05, 2006 at 05:11 PM PDT #

What I said (and initialy brought up by your comments)in the whole argument is that USGS reported M4.9 and Chinese counter part reported M5.1. I trusted Chinese report because of the location of the earthquake and the knowledge about the local observation network.
I never said US Can not detect an earthquake half way around the globe. Our argument was which one is more acurrate and worth to be trust. Do not waste your time try to explain the observation theroy to me, read my comments carefully before your arrogance took control of you!
So do not shift your argument to "US can not detect an earthquake in China". Even China can detect an earthquake in US or anywhere in the world! When it comes to the acurracy of the observation, I have a lot to trust for Chinese counter part when the earthquake was inside China!

Posted by FU on July 06, 2006 at 04:33 AM PDT #

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