Research progress on prehistoric/historical giant hazards and their social effects in China

Published 17 March, 2022


Natural hazards are closely related to human life. Nowadays, strong earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, heavy rainstorms and heavy floods are often captured in words or on camera, so we have a record to refer to. However, natural hazards that occurred in historical, or even prehistoric periods weren’t recorded in the same way; as a result, they are often ignored or forgotten. For example, people admire the remains of ancient buildings in Shanxi, but many do not realise that the majority were rebuilt after the great Hongtong Earthquake in AD 1303, which caused ~200,000 deaths; while the Huaxian earthquake in AD 1556, which destroyed the Forest of Steles in Xi’an and caused ~830,000 deaths, attracts little attention. The major natural hazards that occurred in prehistoric/historical periods are just like the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province, which seriously affected the safety of human life and property. 

Today’s disaster prevention and mitigation work has encouraged researchers to study prehistoric and historical natural disasters. This special issue aims to summarise and review new progress and understanding of natural hazards in the prehistoric/historical periods of mainland China, and to put forward the future research prospects.

Topics covered:

Themes will include, but won’t be limited to:

  • The progress and review of research on the strong earthquakes in prehistoric/historical periods
  • Research on the relationship between the relics of huge earthquakes and the protection of cultural relics
  • In-depth research on the impact of catastrophic earthquakes on social structure in historical periods
  • New discoveries of earthquake literature and historical data and their significance during the past 40 years
  • Disaster chain effects of mega-earthquakes in prehistoric periods
  • Research on the social impact of catastrophic floods and torrential rain disasters in historical periods
  • Quantitative research methods of special natural disasters in prehistoric/historical periods
  • Case studies of extreme heavy rains/floodsin prehistoric/historical periods

Important deadlines:

  • Submission deadline: 31 August 2022

Submission instructions:

Please read the Guide for Authors before submitting. All articles should be submitted online; please select “VSI: Research progress on prehistoric/historical giant hazards and their social effects in China” on submission.

Guest Editors: 

Research Professor Yueren Xu

Institute of Earthquake Forecasting, China Earthquake Administration, China.


Research Professor Zihong Li

Shanxi Earthquake Agency, China.


Professor Jie Fe

Institute of Historical Geography, Fudan University, China.


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