Anniversary Post: Kangding-Luding Flood

Dadu RiverOn this day in 1786, the Kangding-Luding flood occurred killing more than 100,000 people. On 1 June 1786, the Kangding-Luding earthquake occurred with an estimated magnitude of 7.8. Over 400 people were killed by the earthquake itself. But the quake also caused a number of mudslides. One of them created a dam blocked the Dadu River, creating an enormous lake — over 200 feet deep holding back almost two billion cubic feet of water. As of 9 June 1786, water began to overrun the dam. And on 10 June 1786, an aftershock caused the dam suddenly to collapsed. It must have been like an explosion.

To give you some idea of just how powerful this flood was, it caused the collapse of part of the city walls of Leshan. Leshan is over a hundred miles away from where the mudslide was (I’m assuming somewhere near Kangding-Luding). I have a hard time getting my head around it. But as you can see in the photo, it is surrounded by hills, so there isn’t anywhere for the water to go except where the river normally went. It must have been a horror show.

We mark this sad anniversary 229 years ago.

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