Chinese seismologists still trying to figure out when the Big One will strike 40 years after deadly quake

At the Tangshan Earthquake Museum, a replica of what is believed to be the world’s first seismoscope stands in stark contrast to haunting images of rubble. The barrel-shaped contraption, nearly 2,000 years old, has a built-in pendulum connected to levers intended to cause a bronze ball to spring toward the direction of a quake. 

However, that’s not the only exhibit here that warns visitors of the earth-shaking forces that, 40 years ago this week, flattened this once-booming industrial town 110 miles east of Beijing. The 7.5-magnitude Tangshan earthquake remains the world’s third deadliest, with a death toll exceeding 240,000.

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