Not that it is any consolation for those that were affected, but hopefully nothing like this will happen again for another four thousand years.
PARIS — People who were killed, injured or bereaved in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake had the cruel misfortune to be victims of an event that probably occurs just once in four millennia, seismologists said on Sunday.
In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, Shen Zhengkang of the China Earthquake Administration and colleagues said the May 12, 2008 quake comprised a strong seismic wave, unusual geology and the failure of three subterranean "barriers" to resist the shock.
Using Global Positioning System (GPS) markers and data from satellite-borne interferometric radar, the scientists built up a picture of the Longmen Shan fault, on the northwest rim of the Sichuan basin, as it was gouged open by the 7.9-magnitude temblor.
Nearly 88,000 people were killed in what was the largest seismic event in China in more than 50 years.