The earthquake happen late evening with aftershocks until the following morning. Scientific evidence was later revealed that the magnitude of the earthquake was approximately 8.0 to 8.3, which isn't close to the strongest tremor on the record. The earthquake struck in a very populated area with poorly constructed buildings and causing a horrific death toll.
On January 23, 1556, an earthquake in Shaanxi, China, killed an estimate of 830,000 people. The epicenter of the earthquake was in the Wei River Valley in the Shaanxi Providence, which was near the cities of Huaxian, Weinan, and Huayin. In Huaxian, every single home and building collapsed killing half of the residence in the city. There were similar situations for those in Weinan and Huayin.